For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about two unpleasant things that everybody does, but nobody really likes doing. And no, it’s not death and taxes – although those may be the end result of these two things that we’ve been talking about. We’ve been talking about suffering and submitting: suffering even when we do what’s right – and submitting to all human authorities that God has placed over us.
Neither of those are things we really enjoy doing – but yet God has called us to do exactly that.
Now if you happen to have missed last week’s message, let me give you a quick recap of some of the main points.
For the last month or so, we’ve been working our way through the book of 1 Peter and one of the big themes of the entire book is that for Christians, this world is no longer home sweet home. As Christians, we have become citizens of a new kingdom – we’ve been transfer from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. And so, as citizens of the Kingdom of God with Jesus as our King, we are now temporary residents and foreigners in this present world. But we’re not just wandering around through this life aimlessly – waiting to go finally home and be with Jesus. While we’re here, we have a job to do. We are ambassadors for our King. Two weeks ago we read from 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 9 which reads:
“… For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
We were reminded that as God’s people, as His holy nation living in an unbelieving world – our job to show others the goodness of God. We are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth so that others can come to know and love our heavenly Father just like we do.
But in order to do that – in order to be effective salt and light in this world, Peter tells us in verse 12 of that same chapter…
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” 1 Peter 2:12
We need to make sure that our lives are so far above reproach that even if we are falsely accused of doing wrong – our honourable behaviour will give evidence to the truth. We want to live such different and upright lives that others can’t help but notice and consider the truth of what we believe and live for.
So having said that, Peter goes on to then give us several examples of what that actually looks like in real life. He started with this passage that we read last week:
13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
1 Peter 2:13-17
And I know for a lot of people, this is a hard pill to swallow. Sometimes we have a real difficult time submitting to our governments the other authorities over us – especially when those in positions of authority are evil and corrupt.