Summary: Jesus saved me through His submission so that I can serve Him through my submission
This morning I’m going to preach on a section of Scripture that I don’t particularly like. And my guess is that if most of you are completely honest, you don’t like it either. That’s because it flies in the face of our natural tendencies.
Submission is not a natural response for most people. It is certainly not something that is valued in our world where hanging on to one’s rights seems to be of the highest importance and where it has become quite acceptable and even fashionable to rebel against all forms of authority. Unfortunately, as disciples of Jesus, we’re not immune to being influenced by our culture’s view of submission. So there is a natural tendency to resist the entire idea, sometimes quite openly and sometimes in much more subtle ways.
As we continue our study of the book of 1 Peter, we’re going to come to a section of Peter’s letter where the idea of submission is going to be the central theme. This week, we’re going to deal with how we are to submit to those in authority in our government and in our jobs and then next week, we’ll see how Peter deals with submission in the marriage relationship.
So go ahead and turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter chapter 2. Even though I included verses 11 and 12 in the passage we studied last week, I’m going to begin in verse 11 this morning because those verses serve as a needed introduction to the rest of this morning’s passage.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 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.
Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
(1 Peter 2:11-25 ESV)
I’ll begin by summarizing Peter’s main idea here and then we’ll proceed to look at some important aspects of that idea. Here is how we can summarize the main theme of this passage:
Jesus saved me through His submission
so that I can serve Him through my submission
This morning, I don’t really have a neat little three point outline of this passage complete with alliteration or rhyming. Instead, I’m just going to share some of the important truths about Biblical submission that we can draw from the passage. As I do that I’m primarily going to focus on submission to governmental authorities.
SOME IMPORTANT TRUTHS ABOUT BIBLICAL SUBMISSION
1. Being a citizen of heaven does not relieve me of my responsibility to submit to earthly authority
In verse 11, Peter reminded his readers, and he reminds us, that we are sojourners and exiles in this world. And that truth may very well lead us to think that since we’re citizens of heaven rather than citizens of this world that we therefore have no responsibility to submit to the authority of this world. But Peter puts that idea to rest immediately when he commands his readers to be subject to every human institution.
That idea really shouldn’t come as a surrpise to us. If any of us want to drive down to Rocky Point for a vacation, the moment we cross the international border into Mexico, we must obey the laws of Mexico even though we are still citizens of the United States. And if we don’t, there are some serious consequences.