April 3, 2005

1 Peter 2:13-17 Sermon Notes

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1 Peter 2:13-17
(April 3, 2005, Sermon Notes)

In this section of his letter, Peter calls us to live in the light of Jesus’ death (1 Pet. 2:21-25). We are God’s chosen people and our lifestyle must reflect who we are so that the Gentiles, too, may glorify God because of us. That new lifestyle involves new ways of relating to those in authority over us.


The basic rule Peter gives for Christian interaction with civil magistrates is this: “Submit.” In fact, Peter wants us to submit to every human creature (which is probably the meaning of the Greek phrase translated “every ordinance of men” in the NKJV).

We don’t submit to “the civil government”; we submit to rulers, to human beings who are creatures just as we are, creatures who have limited knowledge and make mistakes, just as we do. The basic rule for Christian relationships is that we are to submit to other human creatures, and especially to those whom God has set over us.

We are to do so “for the Lord’s sake.” Jesus is the Lord. He rules over the other lords. In fact, He appoints them to office as His servants (Rom. 13). When we honour them, we are honouring Him. There are limits to the authority of these other rulers (e.g., Acts 5:29), but those limits do not take away from our basic calling to submit.

The Lord appoints rulers to punish evildoers and praise those who do good (v.14). Peter wants us to work alongside rulers toward these goals. When we do good consistently, we muzzle our critics (v. 15) and even draw unbelievers to faith so that they join us in glorifying God (vv. 11-12).

GOD’S SERVANTS (2:16-17)

Peter tells us to live “as free men,” even if we are slaves (as in 2:18ff.). We have been redeemed (1:18), freed from the slavery of the old way of life we inherited from Adam. But true freedom is a license to live as we please; it is a license to live as God pleases. We are to live as free men who are God’s servants, freed from sin to live for righteousness (2:24).

When we submit to others, we are not relinquishing our freedom, therefore. We are exercising our freedom — freedom from selfishness, freedom to serve God and to serve others.

The world tells us to put ourselves first, but the Lord has freed to honour other people, whether they are Christians or not. But beyond that common respect for everyone, there must also be a special love for “the brotherhood,” the church of Christ.

Peter adds that we are to fear God and honour the king — in that order. God has the ultimate authority and deserves the highest reverence. We must honour the king and all our rulers, but we trust and fear God alone.

Posted by John Barach @ 9:41 am | Discuss (0)

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