Our last reading this week is from 1 Peter 2:13-17
v13: Therefore: As has been mentioned quite a few times… therefore =Based upon everything that Peter has laid out, set forth, so far in this epistle.
- Submit: Biblically we know that there is a relationship between submissiveness and humility. We need to recognize G-dly authority over our lives and submit to it
v14: Those who are sent by Him: Generally, we are called to be submissive (Eph 5:21) – even to governmental authority, but there is a purpose behind it, and we need to understand what that purpose is so that we do not make the wrong decisions.
- The punishment of evildoers…and praise for those who are doing good: We are supposed to recognize governmental authority that is functioning in this capacity, as G-d has placed them in power – they bring judgment or punishment upon those who are doing evil and praise those who do good. What happens when a government changes and no longer punishes evildoers but rewards them, and exerts vengeance on those who are doing good (ie those who are submitted to the will of G-d)? We are NEVER called to submit to ungodly authority (eg Daniel did not submit to the government command to cease praying, his three friends did not bow down to the image etc).If a governmental law is against the Word of G-d we submit to the Word and not to the law.
v15: Ignorance: This word is not speaking about those who are unaware, unknowing, but it literally means those who are against the knowledge of G-d and against His revelation.
They are hostile toward G-dly knowledge, and here G-d calls such people ‘foolish’.
v16: Free (ones): Those who have experienced liberty. Many people are confused about this concept of liberty. The liberty we get is not a liberty to keep sinning. The liberty that G-d gives us is a freedom to serve Him. We see the paradigm in the exodus from Egypt. Through Passover, G-d brought the people out – He gave them liberty from Pharaoh. G-d gave them freedom in order that they could meet Him at Mount Sinai, and there they received the expectations of G-d (His commandments). We see that liberty is for us to receive G-d’s instructions – we have the freedom to obey Him, rather than being in bondage to the enemy (to Pharaoh). G-d does not give us liberty to disobey Him, He gives us liberty to do His will.
- A cloak for vice – A ‘vice’ is immoral or wicked behaviour. We do not use our liberty as a cover up, a concealing, (a cloak) for doing evil – those things that are against G-d’s will.
v17: Love the brotherhood: This means we need tofellowship with and love others.
Note: The order here is very informative. Peter tells us what to do in a specific order and that ultimately brings us into a position whereby we can honour the king.
- Honour the king: Not just anyone has the opportunity to be in positions to influence kings (Acts 9:15) but if we are humble and walk in submissiveness G-d is able to give us a mighty platform – to be in the position to influence others.