Summary: Will we submit to the directions of God or allow ourselves to be submerged in the world?
By Garrett Edwards
This first letter and this passage is a very clear and powerful summary of Christian belief and practice isn’t it? But its also long isn’t it, I really struggled trying to tackle everything in this in one talk, but I’m going to try without glossing over too many things.
So lets get into it. If you haven’t got your Bible open, and perhaps you would like to do that so you can follow along.
In this passage, Peter is appealing to his readers, it’s an appeal to us and what’s his appeal? The central verse I want to focus on this morning is v.17. How does this fit with the topic of ‘Submit not Submerge? The way I see it, Peter breaks it down into these 3 areas, Submit to God, Submit to Authority and Submit to each other. And I hope that through this talk I am able to explain a little of each but also show how in the end, we aren’t doing 3 separate things, but only one.
The core of this passage lies, as it does with the whole Bible, in whether or not we will voluntarily submit ourselves to God. When we become believers, we become God’s people on earth. His people to tell others about him, to explain his will and to live the way he wants us to.
So when Peter explains to us that we are to submit to authority, and that we are to submit to one another, Peter is telling us that we need to submit to God. It is because of our faith in Jesus that Peter says in verse 11 that we are aliens and strangers in this world, and as such we need to be living lives that are innocent and blameless among unbelievers, so that if we are accused of something, our lives will speak for themselves and God will be glorified to them.
And so Peter appeals to his readers, he appeals to us saying if we are to do this we need to submit to God by submitting to authority and each other firstly submitting to authority. And he begins this appeal in a very strong fashion, look at how he starts off in verse 13 ‘Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake!’
Again, the core of this message is submission to God! It doesn’t matter who’s in power over us, it’s not he person creating the policies, the person giving us all work, the person in control of how much overtime or how much leave we receive.
It’s not the teachers giving us homework, or controlling how much recess time we have or how difficult the exams are. In the end its not them who you are submitting to, but to God!And Paul agrees when he says in Romans 13:1-2 that all authority, whether at school dealing with teachers, coordinators and principles or at home dealing with parents, all authority is placed there by God.
Whether at the work place dealing with bosses and supervisors who may or may not care for you? Your submission to them, or not, reflects on God.
See in verse 18 - 20. We aren’t slaves I know, but we do have bosses, those we answer to. And Peter is appealing to us, saying we need to be submissive to them, we need to respect them as the authority God has placed over us.
I also know that most of us wont be working for Christian bosses, so we need to be aware that how we act towards them, reflects God and who he is. And if we have immoral, unjust supervisors, Peter calls us to endure, to not repay them in kind.
To endure because that is to our credit, but how is it to our credit to endure reprimands we deserve? How does that reflect on the God we profess to follow?
We are called to this not by an unfair God, but by Jesus himself who suffered wrongly and endured it at the hands of authorities and he committed no sin in reaction. v 22 - 25. What other authorities are there in our lives? For the Lord’s sake, submit yourselves to every authority instituted among men.’
Where do we stand in regards to the authority in our lives? Because Jesus has made it clear to us how we need to respond to it. And Peter makes it clear that in submitting to authority, we are submitting to God. Titus 3:1 is another reminder of its importance.
This brings us to the next part of the passage, Peter’s third appeal, submitting to one another. And depending on circumstances it can either be easier or harder than submitting to authority.
For obvious reasons, this is a hard part for me to talk about. I don’t have a wife, I’ve never experienced the issues and circumstances that come with a marriage, except from a child’s point of view. I also know that there are women here who come to church each week, and its an odd day when their husbands join them in church, for whatever reason, maybe they don’t share your faith, or maybe they do, but don’t make it the priority that you do. And I know that there may be husbands who are in the same position. Or maybe, maybe, both husband and wife do come to church each Sunday but its more real for one of you than for the other and that causes friction as well.