Absolute Submission - 1 Peter 2:11-17

Absolute Submission

In today’s world, submission can be very difficult. I notice that my kids have tendencies to be less than submissive at times, especially the youngest. It is difficult to watch our nations crumble and still be subject to the authority of government.

However, God calls us to be obedient, with the knowledge that we are free in Christ. 

1 Peter 2:11-17 (ESV)

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
13 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
First, we see Peter switching from what our identity is in Christ to him now giving us what our responsibility is as Christians. We are no longer of the world but of Christ. We are exiles and don’t belong to the world. Therefore, we need to make a conscious effort to put away the things of the past and the sins that entangle us. Why? Because they wage ‘war’ on our souls. War is a word that I feel has gotten numbed over recent years. War during the time of this epistle was brutal, destructive, and complete chaos. It ruined nations and people alike. Don’t let the lusts of the flesh destroy your soul. Instead, we are encouraged to be honorable, be above reproach. Be a witness for Christ. So, when people speak of us, they can only speak about Jesus because of the lives that we are living according to Him.

Additional responsibility as Christians is to submit to our leadership and government. Times may be different than what Peter was experiencing, but God still calls us to be good citizens. Whether we like it or not, God has placed our government officials in their current positions for a reason. He has a purpose and plan that needs to be fulfilled. We must trust and submit to His will. God put these leaders in place to punish those who do evil.

We as Christians are to ‘silence the ignorance’ of the foolish. We are to be a living example of Christ and, again, be above reproach so that no one can criticize us or point a finger that distracts from the Good News of Christ. The ignorance Peter talks of is the lack of knowledge of Christ. People may say things that are completely wrong, but maybe they just don’t know the truth. By definition, ignorance is a ‘lack of knowledge’ and not the rejection of knowledge. So, let us do good in the name of Christ.

It is through Christ and His resurrection that we are free. However, we are not to use this freedom to cover malicious intent. In John 8:31-32, it says that if we abide in His Word, then we are His disciples. Knowing His Word will give us the truth, and the truth will set us free. Free from what? The government? Our leaders? No, we are free from the bondage of sin and are to live as servants of God.

Lastly, Peter encourages us to honor everyone. Everyone. This can be very difficult at times. Give due respect to everyone as Christ also would. Furthermore, we need to love the Christian brotherhood. There are plenty of churches out there. Certain nuances or how things are approached between different churches can cause disagreements. But God calls us to love the Brotherhood of Christ. It is in Christ alone that we can be in the presence of God for eternity. Simply, Christ. That is all that should matter. Christ took upon the sins of the world on that cross, and then He defeated death three days later and rose again, and He is still living.

So, no matter where we are in our walk with Christ, remember, that we have the responsibility to submit to Him. We have the responsibility to live above reproach as a reflection of Christ to the world around us. That way, the ignorant can see the truth through us. Our governments may seem dysfunctional, but it is God’s will that they are there and we should submit and obey.

Love one another as Christ is calling us to do. Walk according to His footsteps and our actions, words, and deeds will start aligning accordingly. 

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