September 7, 2020

Sep 7, 2020

Respecting Government – 1 Peter 2:13-17

In recent months we have been subjected to many government orders that previously would have been unthinkable in the United States. Clothing stores, restaurants, and churches were closed, but building supply stores, and even marijuana dispensaries were allowed to remain open. At times like this it is easy to question the decisions of the government and want to disobey their orders. However, Peter clearly tells us that we should “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.” 1 Peter 2:13. Peter was telling early Christians that they should submit to the Roman government, which was persecuting and killing Christians. Why would Peter make such a statement? He quickly tells us that “this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” Therefore, by submitting to the government, we are performing the will of God. Following the laws of government puts Christians in a good light, and prevents society from making false statements about us.

However, there are limits to the what government orders we should follow. Peter instructs us to “not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16. This shows that when man’s laws are in conflict with God’s law, we should still follow God’s law. Sometimes this means actively trying to get the Government to change the laws, and other times it could mean not behaving in a way that conflicts with God’s law, even if the behavior is legal under man’s law. This does not mean that if we simply disagree with a law that we should ignore it, but we must be careful to evaluate if a law is truly in conflict with God’s law, and only then should Christians not submit to the law.

Peter closes this section with a reminder that we should “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:17. By following the laws of government we do the will of God, and silence the ignorance of non-believers who like to criticize Christians. This brings glory to God, and keeps order in society.

Mark Anderson