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Studies from 1st Peter - 11

Honourable Conduct in the Society   1Peter 2:13—17

“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men- as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”

Peter continues with the exhortation he began in v. 11 on Christian’s honourable behaviour.

Four areas:

            Vs. 13—17:- Society

            Vs. 18—25:- Work place
            Vs. 3:1—7:- Family
            Vs. 3:8—5:11:- Assembly

Notice two things:-
a. A believer’s conduct should be excellent everywhere. Not just at home or church.
b. Everywhere his behaviour must be characterized by submissiveness. Cf. v. 13, 18; 3:1; 5:5. 

Vs. 13—17:- Society

Submit to Authority  v. 13.

‘Ordinances’ Gk= ‘creation’ or ‘institution’. It does not speak of every individual law but the authority. cf. Rom. 13:1 “Every authority instituted among men” NIV

5 Reasons

1. Will of God. Vs. 13a; 15a.
It is not a suggestion but a definite command that we ought to obey. Just like salvation and sanctification our submissiveness also is God’s will. 1 Thess 4:3

God ordained. Rom 13:1; Dan. 2:21; 4:17, 25.  No Authority except from God, even if they are unbelievers it is God who has appointed them, to accomplish His purposes. Rom 9:17 ; Exo. 9:16; Hab. 1:6
But there may be some occasions when obeying a human authority would be a violation God’s perfect will. What shall we do in such circumstances? We need to obey God rather than man. cf. Acts 4:19; 5:27—29; Exo 1:17; Dani. 1:8; 6:10. These saints in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament did honour the office, but politely conveyed their stand that they can not violate the law of God which is supreme.

2. The example of Christ. V.13b
            “Lord’s sake” –two ideas emerge.
Follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though the Lord spoke against the sins of the leaders His time, He never tired to overthrow the authorities. He said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” Matt. 22:21 cf. John 18:36.

Apostles and the early church, even after suffering persecutions from the authority exhorted Christian’s to honour those who rule over them! They never rebelled against any government at the same time preached the gospel of Christ that changed lives to live like light in this dark world.

3. The glory of God. V. 13b
            “Lord’s sake”- also refers to honouring the Lord as the one who appointed the authority. Cf. Rom. 13:2, 4a. Rebellion against the divinely appointed authority is indirectly a rebellion against God. In other words when we submit to authority we are giving God the due place-glorifying Him. Also, it is a testimony.
Even if one is not up to the mark, yet we are supposed to yield to the authority for God’s glory. If rulers are bad what we have to do is to pray for them that God who overrules may intervene. 1 Tim. 2:1, 2.

4.  Our own good. V. 14; 1 Tim. 2:2b

      1. Order & peace in the society. V. 14 cf. 1Tim. 2:2b. “we may lead a quite and peaceable life’. God has ordained various authorities to maintain peace and order in the society. Cf. Rom 13:3. – sinful man needs restrictions.
      2. Silence the slanderer .v. 15. People are watching to accuse us. They have no knowledge, no reasoning power. –‘Ignorance’; ‘foolish’- How to stop them?

Silence’ Gk= ‘muzzle’ cf. Matt 22:34 – prevent them from speaking. How is it possible? Our submissiveness to authority – as law abiding citizens becomes a good testimony – that reveals God’s goodness and stops their criticism.
So being submissive to authority helps us for our own good.

5. Right use of our freedom. V. 16

 “As free” –Christ has liberated us from the bondage of sin, law, Satan, world and self etc. cf. Rom. 6:4, 7; Gal 3:13l; Heb 2:14; Colo 2:20.
But this freedom is not lawlessness. Our freedom is not to do anything as we please. We are free to be bond salves to God! True Christian freedom is the state of being a slave to Christ. An unbeliever obeys a law out of compulsion but Christian, since he is free from all kinds of evil mentioned above, finds it easy to obey the law, whether divine or man made.
Right use of our freedom is to be obedient to God. That includes every authority God has set among men. God’s bondservant obeys freely.

Five reasons why Christian submit to Authority

      1. The will of God
      2. The example of Christ
      3. The glory of God
      4. Our own good
      5. Our freedom

Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You are free to use it for your personal study.
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