Jason B. Ladd

Author | Apologist | Entrepreneur

Spirit of Obedience, Spirit of Rebellion


Abraham displays his obedience. Public Domain.

Spirit of obedience, spirit of rebellion.

Which spirit are we to embrace regarding laws and rules?  Is compliance optional?  Is it mandatory?  Is it a question of morality, or merely preference?

As always, it depends on the situation and your worldview.

Have you ever been accused of being a “rule follower?”  How about a “rebel?”

How should you feel about those labels?

If your worldview is legalistic, you probably delight in following all the rules.  If your worldview is emphasizes personal liberty, you may relish in exercising your liberties above all else.

A Christian who becomes legalistic risks becoming judgmental and forgetting that:

entrance into Heaven has nothing to do with “being good.”  

A Christian who focuses on personal liberty risks living a life based on cheap grace.

German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes cheap grace in The Cost of Discipleship:

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.¹

The Christian worldview is clear on how we should respond to our laws:

We are to act in a spirit of obedience to man’s laws unless they violate God’s laws.


Judas plots. Public Domain.


Here is some information the Bible provides on government and the rule of law:

  1. God gives authority to those in government (Romans 13:1)
  2. Christians should obey the government (Titus 3:1)
  3. God holds those in government accountable (Deuteronomy 17:18–19)

Which spirit lives in you?

Related Posts

¹ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Touchstone, 1959), 44-45.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

3 Replies

  1. shul

    Maybe it is neither. If we are living under the commandment of love, our righteousness should transcend the law, and if there is any injustice, it is our responsibility to address it.

    1. I like the way you’ve put that. Our righteousness should indeed transcend the law. If only my sin didn’t keep mucking things up!