Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution...
1 Peter 2:11-25 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 bondslaves 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.
Christ Is Our Example
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.
Psalm 115:16 says: The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, But the earth He has given to the sons of men. In Mathew 28:18 Jesus says: “All authority
has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” How do we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory statements in scripture? In truth they are not contradictory at all. As the sovereign creator of heaven
and earth, God has and retains all authority in heaven and on earth. In Genesis 1:26-28 says: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and
over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created
them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on
the earth.” That God gave man authority over the earth, does not mean that man’s authority exceeds or supercedes God’s authority. Daniel 2:20-21 says: “Let the name of God be blessed forever
and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him.
It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.” As stated in yesterday’s meditation, when Jesus was here, He did not focus on changing the political or governmental structure of authority, even though there were many significant problems at that time. Instead, His purpose was to redeem sinners; to reconcile them to God, and so to restore them to the place of authority on earth that was intended from creation.
Today’s text says: 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.
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 bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. We are in a difficult time as believers. We must determine carefully how it is that we are submit to the authority of government, when the government opposes God. Many today are standing against the government on the basis of their rights. As believers though it’s not as much about our rights as it is about God’s will. God raises up rulers and kingdoms on this earth and He can remove them. Although it may seem to be against God’s will, that godless leaders impose immoral and unrighteous laws and regulations, it has not taken Him by surprise. Romans 8:28-29 says: We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. For us then, it is vital that we remain true to our love for God, and so become conformed, restored to the image of Christ. In Matthew 24:12-13 Jesus says: “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” We cannot allow the lawlessness of our culture; our society and even our government to cause our love for God to grow cold. We must endure with Him, through Him and in Him. In Matthew 24:4-11 Jesus says: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” It could be that we are seeing the times that Jesus spoke of and warned about. It’s not that we should not stand against the government taking away the rights of our nation’s citizens, but most importantly, we need to take heed that no one deceives us. We need to know Christ as He is revealed in God’s word and by the Holy Spirit, so that we will not be deceived by those who say that Christ embraces the immorality and lawlessness of our culture, society and government. We may be hated, delivered up to tribulation and even killed, but we must endure in and through Jesus. In John 16:33 Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
May the words of the psalmist, a man after God’s heart, be our prayer and declaration today. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. Amen.