Do you cringe when you hear the word “obedient”? Does simply hearing the word make you assess how obedient you are in this life; whether it be at work, at home, but most importantly in following Christ’s teachings? I think everyone could easily come to the conclusion that when it comes to being obedient, we could all improve.
Natural tension exists within us to rebel; to do things our own way, especially in our ever-growing secular, relativistic society. Being obedient requires us to follow certain laws, or rules, set forth by governing bodies. There are four types of law to consider:
The first and foremost governing Body is God Himself. Through God, we have what we call “Eternal Law” defined as “the total sum of truth, existing in God.” 1 From this law, of which the entirety of it is known only to God, all Truth flows.
Contained within the Eternal Law are those certain portions of Eternal Law that have been revealed by God. We call these revealed portions “Divine Law.” A good example of Divine Law: the Ten Commandments, noted in Scripture.
To understand Divine Law, or divine revelation, we must first absorb the meaning of Natural Law, which is a portion of Divine Law. Natural Law is the “portion of truth that is planted in our nature in such a way that we grasp it naturally…and we can use human reason to arrive at it and articulate it.” 2 For example, we use reason to assess good from evil; right from wrong. With that reason we decide whether to obey God’s commandments and laws (revealed through Scripture) or to stray.
The fourth and smallest component of law is Human Law, established by man. Human law should be based upon Natural Law. Yet, because we are human, and prone to error, with a tendency to sin, we don’t always create human laws in accordance with God’s Natural Law.
Two recent United States examples of where Human Law deviates from God’s Natural Law are in the areas of Roe v. Wade (abortion rights) and Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage). Although these human laws make it acceptable to terminate pregnancies and allow for same-sex marriages, if we are to be truly obedient to God, the Natural Law of God must supersede Human Law; as Natural Law comes from God, the higher power. So although the US Supreme court has said that you can do these things, God says otherwise.
To Whom Should We Be Obedient?
The answer is simple: We are called as children of God to obey God. So, no matter what man deems as acceptable, we must be obedient to God. We are here on this earth for a mere blip in the span of time. What we do on this earth – choosing to be obedient to God, or not – may dictate how we get to spend eternity. Now, to me, eternity sounds like a really, really, really, long time. Therefore, I choose to be obedient to God’s Divine and Natural Laws in the here and now, with the hope that eternity will be blissful in the presence of the One Whom I choose to obey.
1 Lowery, Mark. Living the Good Life. Ann Arbor: Servant Publications. 2003, Print. Pg. 53