There may come a time in your life as a Christian when the civil law comes into conflict with the law of the Holy Spirit.
For the born-again believer in Jesus Christ, one of the great eternal benefits is a moral compass alive in the heart which is the moral of compass of Jesus Christ.
In other words, whatever the voice of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart says is the correct interpretation of whatever law we are confronted by because it is God’s Holy judgment being declared to us.
Another way of saying it is: The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS right.
The problem is, the civil law may not be. Therein lies the potential for conflict.
The Bible teaches us we are to submit ourselves to whatever civil law exists wherever we may reside. (Romans 13:1-7)
The Bible also teaches us we are to stand for the law of the Spirit of God when the civil law and the law of the Spirit of God collide. (Acts 4:19-20)
But what about when the civil law is not applied lawfully? What about when the civil law is broken in an abuse of power by civil authorities?
This is exactly the situation Paul and Silas have found themselves in.
They have been arrested unlawfully, dragged unlawfully, accused unlawfully, stripped unlawfully, beaten unlawfully, and sentenced to prison unlawfully. According to Roman Law, none of what happened to Paul and Silas was legal because they were Roman citizens.
In the first case, it is imperative for Christians they know the civil law in the area they are living. Christians are not to be ignorant of the civil law they submit themselves to.
Paul and Silas have allowed themselves to be violently abused and mistreated under Roman law. Then, after all happened – and not before – they applied Roman law to their situation. How are we to explain this?