In the previous article we began a short study of 1 Peter 2:13-17 and what it tells us about our response to human government. Continue reading . . .
In the previous article we began a short study of 1 Peter 2:13-17 and what it tells us about our response to human government. Here is the passage again.
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:13-17).
Why this command here, at this point, in Peter’s argument? For at least two reasons.
(1) His description of Christians as “exiles” and “aliens” and “sojourners” on the earth might have led some to think that they were exempt from earthly rules and laws and obligations to human authorities. After all, if I am a citizen of a heavenly kingdom, why should I bother obeying the dictates of an earthly system? If this world is not my ultimate home, being as I am an alien and exile in this world, I shouldn’t have to care about following the standards and rules that govern those who know nothing of God or his heavenly kingdom. Add to this the fact that Peter has described the church as a “chosen race” and a “holy nation” and the problem gets worse.
In other words, Peter was anticipating the possibility that some might call for our complete withdrawal from the world and from society. On numerous occasions in history Christian communities have created t