Art Toombs Ministries 

Online Bible Commentary

You Can’t Have it Both Ways

Acts 5:27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!" 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." (NKJV)


What kind of a Christian are you? Are you sold out to the Lord, or just going through the motions? This passage will help you determine the answer to this question. 

After Pentecost Peter and the apostles continued to preach forgiveness and repentance to the people of Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin had them jailed for their actions. After an angel freed the apostles they were back preaching again in the temple. 

The Sanhedrin again detained the disciples and brought them before the council (vv. 27-28). Peter and the apostles justified their actions by saying "We ought to obey God rather than men” (v. 29). 

They went on to claim that the religious leaders had “murdered” Jesus, who was sent by God (v. 30). They described Jesus as God’s “Prince and Savior”, and told of how He was sent “to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (v. 31). 

The disciples were not timid. They were bold in standing up to the religious leaders who were more concerned about obeying men than obeying God. Some religious leaders today are doing the same thing. 

Some churches are now recognizing homosexual marriage. This is directly contrary to the teaching of the Bible. This is an example of obeying men and not God. 

Are you living out your faith, or are you just a Christian when it suits you? Are you just going through the motions? This passage tells us that we can’t serve God and men. We have to make a choice. We must take a stand. 

Jesus “spits out” lukewarm Christians. They are of no use to Him. Jesus said “So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:16). 

In today’s society more and more we have to take a stand for God, and against men. It comes at a cost, but the alternative is worse. Peter and the apostles were jailed. So far, the cost for most of today’s Christians is not that steep. 

This passage ends with a ray of hope. It says that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God (v. 32). All Christians are indwelt with the Holy Spirit when they become a Christian. We are meant to be progressively filled with the Holy Spirit as we walk with God. 

However, disobedience can quench the work of the Holy Spirit within us. The good news is that, just like the disciples, when we take a stand for Jesus the Holy Spirit fills us with the power to overcome evil. So, where do you stand? Are you with Jesus or against Him? You can’t have it both ways.