Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. (Jude 1:8-10)
Speaking Evil Of Dignitaries
It is easy to forget that living in a country that affords freedom of speech that freedom of speech is not always granted in the kingdom of God. Liberties enjoyed from a secular government does not allow for freedoms under the law of Christ. There are two authorities in the world: the authority of men and the authority of God. The higher of two is the authority of God. God establishes every government, and it is according to the Lord when nations rise and fall. Resisting government is resisting God. The only time a child of God can stand against the laws of men is when those laws transgress the law of God. A man may not enjoy paying taxes, but Jesus taught those things required by Caesar are due to Caesar; those things due God are required by God. The only conflict is when God’s law is superseded. Until that time, every soul must be subject to the laws of the land.
Democracy is a fleeting mistress in the affairs of men. The United States of America is founded upon principles that all men are created equal and with certain inalienable rights. Over the history of America, this meaning has been redefined in many ways. Freedom of speech is one of the treasured parts of the constitution of the United States. Being allowed to express opinions and criticisms of government is a foundational trait of the American way of life. However, while enjoying the rights and privileges of the democratic system of government, the Christian is held to a higher law. One such challenge is the matter of freedom of speech.
In many countries of the world, harsh criticism and uncivil rhetoric of officials is severely put down. To do so in America is almost a badge of honor. Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, faced a world with corrupt government officials, wicked leaders, and a government corrupt from top to bottom. He reminds his readers that a Christian is sanctified by God the Father, and the behavior of those set apart must not be like the world. Living under the Roman rule of law would have been more oppressive than anyone has seen in the United States’ short history. In the face of such oppression and persecution, Jude challenges the spirit of those who would speak evil of dignitaries and reject the authority of the land. As an example of the reservation demanded by children of God, Jude shows that Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Michael was an archangel, but he knew his place before the Lord. Jude tells us this took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body. Nothing is known about the dispute between Michael and the devil, but the point is clear that when people speak evil of dignitaries, they sin.
Freedom in Christ is measured by the word of God. The child of God does not go on social media and lambast, accuse, revile, and speak evil of those in authority. It may be socially acceptable, but it is not the character of God’s holy people separated for truth, purity, and an example of holiness. It does not matter who is elected to be President or who is defeated; the Christian is not to speak evil of those in authority. Peter encouraged the Christians living under Caesar Nero to honor the king and to respect those in power. Grumbling, complaining and accusing – let it not be named among those who are of the faith of Christ. Follow the example of Jesus, who never reviled the government that was killing Him. You may have a right in America, but you do not have a right in Christ.