Summary: How we should seek to be good example and to submit to authority figures in our lives such as the governement and employeer
SBC Philippi 10/23/05 7 pm
Rev. Jeff Simms
Honoring God By Submitting to Others
Primary Purpose: Peter encourages us in our daily walk to honor God in our relationships in the world, with the government and in our work.
Having told us that we are now a people for God’s own possession, now Peter will tell us how that truth should effect our lifestyle. Peter deals with three areas here in the Christians life. First, in verses 11-12 he talks about the Christians conduct toward the world. In verses 13-17, he looks at the Christian and the government. Then, in verses 18-20, he looks at the relationship of the slaves and the masters. This might be applied to our work environment today.
The Christians conduct in the World verses 11-12
Peter assumes the reader understands that as a Christian they are strangers or pilgrims on this earth. The KJV uses the word pilgrim instead of exiles. The greek word is parapidemos which means sojourning in a strange place, away from one’s own people. Peter is saying this to remind them that in some sense this world will never be home to the believer. In John 17:14-16, Jesus referred to His disciples as not of this world. Jesus prayer was not that they be taken out of this world. But, his prayer was that God the Father would “sanctify them in the truth.” Vs.17 This is similar to what Peter discusses when he urges them to “keep your behavior excellent”.
Another truth Peter wants them to keep in mind is that as sojourners they are waging a war. This war isn’t just physical, but it is a war against the inner man. James talks about this also in James 4:1 when he referred to the pleasures that wage war in your members. Also in James 1:14, James says that a person is tempted when “he is carried away and enticed by his own lust”. This is the struggle that Peter is referring to.
The struggle he is referring to is more than just a fight against the devil. Though the devil may use the things of this world to try to entice us against God or to lead us away from God. But, the struggle is mainly against the old nature of the flesh and the new nature that is a part of the new creation that God is creating and has created within us as a believer.
The Christian and the Government
Peter lived in a time when the Roman Empire ruled most of the known world. They were known as a barbaric and ungodly people. Naturally, questions would arise how the believer relates to this government. Peter plainly says we are to submit for the Lord’s sake to the government. Paul also dealt with this issue in Romans 13:1-7 where Paul says that those who are established were placed there by God. Paul’s summary of our attitude toward those in leadership is found in Romans 13:7 that we should “render to all what is due them” regarding tax, custom, fear and honour. Peter reasons that in behaving this way the believer might “silence the ignorance of foolish men”. Vs.15
Peter then goes on to discuss further our attitudes toward others. He uses three key words to describe this attitude: Honour vs.17; Free vs.16 and fear vs.17. The word “free” is a word that means free to go where one likes, freedom from restraint and obligation. As a believer, I am free from the restraint of sin and death. I am truly free to do God’s will for the first time. That is what John 8:32 meant when it says that you will know the truth and “the truth shall set you free.” The believer is truly free from sin and yet by choice we are enslaved to God. (see Romans 6:22)