1 Peter 2:13-25 Practice Christian Submission

PRACTICE CHRISTIAN SUBMISSION
1 Peter 2:13-25            March 25 2007

The Apostle Peter wrote this letter to people
who lived in a difficult situation. The Roman
Empire gave its citizens many advantages –
good roads, safety from invasion, and law and
order. At the same time the empire could be
highly unjust and oppressive in how it
imposed law and order.
Peter addressed many believers who worked
in situations of injustice or even cruelty –
especially the slaves. Some women had to
live under the authority of harsh, non-
Christian husbands. Naturally, they chaffed
under these conditions. How did their
situation square with the Christian doctrine
of liberty in Jesus Christ? Did their newly
acquired freedom in Christ authorize them
to rebel against the authority of the state
and their masters? Peter directed their
attention to the Lord Jesus Christ to show
them how to live in such difficult
situations.

1. Submit To Officials (1 Pet. 2:13-17)

1Pet. 2:13   Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake
to every authority instituted among men: whether
to the king, as the supreme authority, 2:14   or to
governors, who are sent by him to punish those
who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
2:15   For it is God’s will that by doing good you
should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
2:16   Live as free men, but do not use your
freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants
of God. 2:17   Show proper respect to everyone:
Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God,
honor the king.

Peter urges that Christians submit to all
legitimate authorities, whether or not the
persons exercising authority are believers. The
recognition of properly constituted authority
is necessary for the greatest good of the
largest number of people, and it is necessary
to best fulfill the will of God in the world.
(1Pet.2:13) Every authority instituted among
men . Authority established among men
depends on God for its existence (Ro 13:1-2).
Indirectly, when one disobeys a human ruler
he disobeys God, who ordained the system of
human government (Ro 13:2). To the king .
When Peter wrote, the emperor was the
godless, brutal Nero, who ruled from A.D. 54
to 68 (see Introduction: Author and Date). Of
course, obedience to the emperor must never
be in violation of the law of God (to see this
basic principle in action Acts 4:19).
Silence the ignorant talk . Good citizenship
counters false charges made against
Christians and thus commends the gospel
to unbelievers.
Live as freemen . Does not authorize rebellion
against constituted authority, but urges believers
freely to submit to God and to earthly authorities
(as long as such submission does not conflict with
the law of God). As a cover-up for evil. Genuine
freedom is the freedom to serve God, a freedom
exercised under law.
Proper respect to everyone . Because every
human being bears the image of God. Fear God .
(1 Pet.1:17).

2. Submit To Superiors (1 Pet. 2:18-20)

1Pet. 2:18   Slaves, submit yourselves to your
masters with all respect, not only to those who
are good and considerate, but also to those who
are harsh. 2:19   For it is commendable if a man
bears up under the pain of unjust suffering
because he is conscious of God. 2:20   But how
is it to your credit if you receive a beating for
doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer
for doing good and you endure it, this is
commendable before God.

Slaves . Household servants, whatever their
particular training and functions. The context
indicates that Peter is addressing Christian
slaves. NT writers do not attack slavery as an
institution ( Eph 6:5), but the NT contains the
principles that ultimately uprooted slavery.
Peter’s basic teachings on the subject may
apply to employer-employee relations today
( Eph 6:5-8; Col 3:22-25; 1Ti 6:1-2;
Tit 2:9-10).
Conscious of God. As submission to duly
constituted authority is “for the Lord’s sake”
(1Pet.13; Eph 6:7-8), so one will submit to the
point of suffering unjustly if it is God’s will.

3. Follow Christ’s Example (1 Pet. 2:21-25)

1Pet. 2:21   To this you were called, because
Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example,
that you should follow in his steps.  2:22   “He
committed no sin, and no deceit was found in
his mouth.”  2:23   When they hurled their
insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he
suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he
entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
2:24   He himself bore our sins in his body
on the tree, so that we might die to sins and
live for righteousness; by his wounds you
have been healed. 2:25   For you were like
sheep going astray, but now you have
returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of
your souls.

To this you were called. The patient
endurance of injustice is part of God’s
plan for the Christian. It was an important
feature of the true grace of God
experienced by the readers (1 Pet.5:12).
Christ suffered for you ( Isa 52:13-
53:12). Christ is the supreme example of
suffering evil for doing good. His experience
as the suffering Servant-Savior transforms
the sufferings of his followers from misery
into privilege.
Scripture declares the sinlessness of Christ
in the clearest of terms, allowing for no
exception (1 Pet.1:19; Ac 3:14; 2Co 5:21; Heb
4:15; 7:26; 1Jn 3:5). No deceit (1 Pet. 2:1;
3:10).
Prominent examples of our Lord’s silent
submission are found in Mt 27:12-14,34-44
and parallels. Entrusted himself
(1 Pet. 4:19).

Bore our sins (Isa 53:12). Although dealing
with the example set by Christ, Peter touches
also on the redemptive work of Christ, which
has significance far beyond that of setting an
example. Peter here points to the substitutionary
character of the atonement. Christ, like the
sacrificial lamb of the OT, died for our sins, the
innocent for the guilty. A figurative reference
to the cross ( Acts 5:30;  Acts 10:39;
13:29; Gal 3:13). That we might die to sins
and live for righteousness.. (Ro 6:3-14). Peter
stresses the bearing of the cross on our
sanctification. As a result of Christ’s death on
the cross, believers are positionally dead to sin
so that they may live new lives and present
themselves to God as instruments of
righteousness (Ro 6:11-13). you have been
healed. (Isa 53:5); not generally viewed as a
reference to physical healing, though some
believe that such healing was included in the
atonement (Mt 8:16-17). Others see spiritual
healing in this passage. It is another way of
asserting that Christ’s death brings salvation
to those who trust in him.
Shepherd. A concept raised here in connection
with the allusion to the wandering sheep of
Isa 53. The sheep had wandered from their
shepherd, and to their Shepherd (Christ) they
have now returned.  (Ps 23:1;  Jn 10:11,14 ;
Heb 13:20). Overseer. Christ (1 Pet.2:5:2,4;
Acts 20:28). Elders are to be both shepherds
and overseers, i.e., they are to look out for
the welfare of the flock. These are not two
separate offices or functions; the second
term is a further explanation of the first.

Summary:

This lesson can help those who over-
emphasize liberty to the detriment of others
or to their own self-destruction. This lesson
can also help those who must work under the
authority of unfair or demeaning bosses. this
lesson can serve as a corrective to those who
strive to be over others and to subject others
– whether family members or employees – to
their will. In each case this lesson can help
people understand the Christian ethic of
submission.