So that your prayers will not be hindered
1 Peter 2:11-3:7 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond slaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for It you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
3 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
Peter begins today’s text saying: Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. This mirrors what Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” As believers there should be a distinct difference between us and unbelievers. Our behavior should set us apart from the world, as a light on a hill. Our good behavior, our good deeds is not only doing good things for others, but it is abstaining from fleshly lusts, immorality and licentiousness. There are many people, groups and organizations which do good things for people, but it is our good behavior, which should set us apart from and cause the world to glorify God.
Today’s text then says: Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond slaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. What we need to understand is that this submission to the human institutions, to governmental authority, is for the Lord’s sake. It is done from a place of good and godly behavior. We can submit to the authority of the government without participating in the immoral things which it calls legal. Just because something has been determined to be legal by the government does not make it good and right in God’s sight. We can submit without participating in evil. By not using our freedom as a covering for evil, but rather as those who choose to do what is right, we may silence the ignorance of foolishness.
This same basis of submission to human institutions, by obedience to and for the glory of God, also becomes the foundation of our relationships with other people, employers, employees and husbands and wives. In all of these things we should separate; differentiate ourselves from the way of the world. In John 15:18-20 Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” We understand and accept then that our relationship with the world based on the foundation of obedience to God, will not necessarily gain the approval of people. It may actually cause them to dislike us. Our goal and our purpose is not to have the approval of people, but rather the approval of God and that the result would be His glory.
The final words of today’s text are: so that your prayers will not be hindered. First and foremost the prayer that we should desire to be fulfilled and not hindered, is the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Through our good behavior, may the world see the kingdom of heaven manifested here on earth and though they may dislike us, may it be for the glory of God. Amen.