FAQ - Obey Authorities   

Frequently Asked Questions

Obey Authorities

Question:

I like to smoke a joint every now and then, but my parents don't like it at all. It is also illegal and I don't want to get busted by the cops. Does this mean that I should stop smoking it? What does the Bible have to say about this?

Answer:

In the Biblical argument against the use of marijuana we must not overlook the placement of Biblical authorities that rest over everyone. According to the scriptures, there are four authorities that all must be obedient to: God, the government, pastors, and parents. I shall emphasize the last three, since the main topic of this writing is obedience to God and His Word.

On the subject of obedience to the government, the Bible states:

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to EVERY AUTHORITY instituted among men: whether TO THE KING, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king (1 Peter 2:13-17).

One of the strongest arguments that I have found against the use of marijuana is that it is illegal in America, Jamaica, and almost all other countries in the world. In fact, there has been a recent increase in the legal penalties for the possession or use of marijuana regardless of medical reasons. Even Alaska has recently recriminalized marijuana possession. In the New Testament, Peter urged that Christians submit to all legitimate authorities, whether or not the persons exercising the authority were believers. "The recognition of properly constituted authority is necessary for the greatest good of the largest number of people, and it is necessary to best fulfill the will of God in the world" (The NIV Study Bible 1891). EVERY AUTHORITY established among men depends on God for existence (Romans 13:2). Indirectly, when one disobeys a ruler he disobeys God, who ordained the system of human government. When Peter wrote "to the king," the emperor was the godless, brutal Nero, who rule from A.D. 54 to 68. Nero persecuted the Christians like no other king, having them executed. In fact, as tradition holds, it was Nero that had Peter crucified upside down, and Paul beheaded. Yet Peter still insists that we obey the government. In parallel, Paul wrote to the Romans saying: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

An equally important authority to which we must be submissive is our pastor and spiritual leader. The author of the book of Hebrews states; "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you" (Hebrews 13:17). These spiritual leaders can be the greatest examples in a Christian's life because they have studied the word of God and can challenge others to "imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7b).

Lastly, one must obey his parents. Although there are a few exceptions, for the most part, parents are completely against their children smoking Marijuana. In wisdom, King Solomon wrote of the relationship of obedience between the child and his parents: "My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching....For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life" (Proverbs 6:20,23).

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