Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Peter 2:11-25-Understanding Biblical Submission

Today we look at how we should act in the midst of suffering and how we should submit to leadership over us.

vs.11-12- Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Peter is telling us how we should live in the midst of this world. We are in the world but not of it. We are to stay away from sinful desires. Our human nature is always at war with the spiritual nature and we must keep away from things in this world that would pull us away from fellowship with Christ and other believers. We are to be such a good example to the world that our good deeds will help them to see the glory of God in our lives.

How are our lives demonstrating the glory of God on a daily basis?

vs.13-20- Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14-or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15- For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16- Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17- Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 18- Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19- For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is a conscious of God. 20- But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

Peter discusses in these verses how we are to behave as it relates to government and slaves.
In our society today, we no longer have slaves but it does speak to how we should submit to the authority of others. This word submission is hupotasso which means "lining up under authority". I believe our society today has made submission a dirty word. I had a conversation just a couple weeks ago about this very topic. I believe that when God created us he did this with order in mind. God has a perfect plan for our lives and how we are to relate to each other. I once studied in a Beth Moore study, I can't remember the exact one, but she mentions how we are under God's umbrella of protection. I believe that God's perfect design for us is related to this umbrella of protection. God designed rules and authorities in our lives. We are foolish to believe that we are never accountable to someone. God placed our government as authority over us. Our employers are an authority over us and we are instructed to align ourselves under this authority in obedience to God's Word. Our obedience to those in authority will draw the world to us because of our integrity and cheerful submission to those over us. Obedience is a big hurdle to jump over in our humanistic society that feels you can do whatever you feel like when you feel like doing it. God on the other hand shows us how we can have freedom in the midst of submission.

I look at it like this. We are free to live as Christ would have us to live. This is a life free of selfish desires and worldly attitudes. This freedom keeps us from the pitfalls of living as the world lives. This mentality is living in a spirit of servanthood to those around us. It means seeking ways to give to others as opposed to what can I take from those around me. This submission or obedience to Christ is freeing.

Let me conclude with our verses in I Peter 2:21-25.
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22- "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. " 23- When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24- He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25- For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Peter again is reminding us of the passages in Isaiah 53. Our shepherd Jesus gave us the perfect example of what obedience and submission mean.
Are we willing to lay down our lives so that others may know him? Are our lives going to glorify the Father? How are we going to be servant leaders today?

All scripture is taken from NIV-Life Application Bible- 1991- Zondervan and Tyndale Publishing

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