Read 1 Peter 2:11-25
The campaign rhetoric and advertising that usually happens around election time is right around the corner. Men and women will campaign for weeks and even months. And then the advertising will cease and the polls will close. Candidates will have been selected. As citizens, we will have opportunity to experience the leadership of the men and women our community will have selected. And, it is then that we will have opportunity to practice the principles outlined in verses 13-17.
Before we draw attention to those verses, it is important to understand that verse 13 introduces a section that extends from 2:13 to 3:7. The general focus of this section is that of submission or subjection within the different relationships where a Christian might find himself or herself. You see, how we relate to those in authority is important to God and is at the core of the Christian life. It’s so important that we find similar passages in Romans 13:1-7, Ephesians 5:22-6:9, Colossians 3:18-4:1, 1 Timothy 2:9-6:2, and Titus 2:1-3:1. Theologians often refer to these passages as the “household code” for the Church.
So, how are we to specifically respond to those in government positions, both locally and nationally . . . even if our candidate isn’t elected? Peter expresses it in two terms: submission and honor. Honor certainly doesn’t characterize the pre-election atmosphere. Candidates are attacked and slandered. That is not the Christian response! Will you, through your words and actions, demonstrate respect for our government leaders and willingly place yourself under their leadership?
But our response to government is only a part of the “household code” you read in 1 Peter 2. In the first century, servants were also to demonstrate respectful submission to their masters. Of course, the present day parallel would be found in employee/boss relationships. Even there, Christians are to honor those over them as they subject themselves to their leadership. And did you notice? We are to do this, even if the boss is unjust!
Thankfully, these seemingly unnatural responses are fueled by two things:
- We are aliens and strangers in a foreign land where we are on mission (vv. 11, 12)! Don’t settle in this world too much!
- Christ has modeled this kind of response (vv. 22-25)! We can do it because He has shown us how!