A Biblical Understanding of Lawlessness


A Biblical Understanding of Lawlessness is a study of the concept of lawlessness in the Bible and in our community and world today.

What is Lawfulness?

Before we can understand lawlessness, we must begin by understanding what is lawfulness. God has created the world with certain principles by which things operate. That is on the physical side. Thanks to gravity, we don´t have to worry about floating off into space and not being able to return. These laws are for the functioning of our universe, but at the same time, they are for the benefit of us and the universe.1Tim 1:9

God is a being of rules and principles, and His being is impressed upon His creation and creatures. That is obvious to a certain extent. But everything about God is good and works good for those under his creation, but more specifically under his principles and rules. Sin is when a moral being works outside or not under the rules and laws of God. In principle, they break what are the principles and ways God thinks, acts, and moves.

What is Lawlessness?

Lawlessness is not the absence of laws but the rejection of laws binding upon one´s self. Where lawlessness rages wild, there are still laws, but those who are lawless refuse to be restricted by these laws, and they refuse to be guided by good laws.

1Tim 1:8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, …

Note verse 8. There is a misuse of the good law, and unlawful use of the law. This is to twist and turn the law which is good, so that it becomes something evil.

Satan has unilaterally rejected God, the principles of God, and the law of God. But don´t think for a minute that Satan doesn’t know and use skillfully the law of God for his own purposes. What Satan does with the law of God is to use it “unlawfully”. Instead of making things work to the glory of God, he uses the laws that be to work towards the destruction God, the harm of God’s children, and the overthrow or disturbing of the work of God.

Obeying Civil Authorities

God established the nations and their governments, and God commands us to obey these civil leaders up unto the point their laws break the laws of God in the Bible.

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Rom 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Rom 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Rom 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

A couple of points about this passage.

1.) God establishes civil governments.

Christians as all people should obey their civil government over them, including when this government is non-Christian and corrupt. Outside of the nation of Israel, all other governments are non-Christian. Even Israel had its corrupt leaders that forced others below them to obey their corruption.

So the fact that these governments that we as Christians are under are corrupt is not a factor in our disobedience to them.

2.) God wants us to distinguish between what is correct in obeying civil authorities and where to draw the line.

Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

First, note that you do not get to say where that “line” is. You obey everything except what God has told you to do. Communist China wants their people to stop believing in God, any religion or concept of God. The prime minister has said, the only God our people need to worship is the Communist party.

Okay, God says we should worship God and nothing else. So there the two concept crash one into the other. If I were a Chinese person in China, I would not worship the Communist party. But in Acts, when the civil authorities torture and kill those who would not obey their orders about which God they were to worship (Roman’s Caesar) then these Christians suffered whatever that civil authority imposed on them.

So when we do what is commonly considered “civil disobedience”, we become exposed to these civil authorities and we suffer whatever they choose to do to us.

3) Insurrection and sedition are acts in the character of the antichrist, not Christians.

Within the mindset of many people, they react to corrupt civil authorities with insurrection which is the illegal overthrow of a government, and sedition, which is like rebel-rousing, or the spreading of an attitude of insurrection. All of this hinges on illegal overthrow of a government. There are legal changes in governments, even in kings and dictators, and when they die, these are points at which Christians can try to make the change to something good instead of evil or at least better.

Lawlessness connects with insurrection

Lawlessness connects with sedition and insurrection in that lawlessness is the absence of laws, rules, and principles (as in our Constitution and Bill of Rights).

2Thess 2:9 Even him (the Antichrist), whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

So the whole principle of lawlessness is the very essence of Satan. Satan has rebelled against God and God’s law. Those who follow lawlessness are children of Satan.




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