By Tyson Thorne

January 27, 2015

Submission1 large

Submission, while a dirty word in today's world, is to be no stranger to the Christian. In this longer section (1 Peter 2.13-3.22) Peter provides us with four scenarios for submission, at least one of which every believer could relate to: a citizen, a slave, a spouse and a sibling. Consider this “Submission Week” as we’ll spend the next few days uncovering Peter’s teaching on the subject.

As a Saved Citizen.
Do you remember that night of Jesus’ betrayal into the hands of armed temple guards? Remember how Peter slept while his Savior prayed? Do you recall how Peter did anything but submit to the civil authorities and instead chose to fight them? Peter cut one soldiers ear off, and suffered the rebuke of the Lord. Now, here’s Peter some thirty years later telling us to obey the governing authorities. Certainly this letter wasn’t written by the disciple Peter, but rather the older, wiser apostle Peter who demonstrates learned experience. Truly he has become as Jesus had predicted: The Rock, upon which the church shall be built.

Today we don’t face government persecution, at least not the kind that leads to death, but our role remains the same. We are to respect and obey governing authorities until doing so would lead us to disobeying God. If the government is just, Christians have little to fear. When the government is unjust, believers have a two-fold obligation: to disobey laws that violate God’s law and to accept whatever punishment befalls them for doing so.

As a Saved Slave.
Now here’s a passage that has spurred a number of controversies. Some argue that because the Bible does not incite slaves to rebel it gives credence to slavery. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that all men are free under Christ, and that slavery is punishable by God (examine the fate of the Egyptians for not releasing the nation of Israel). However, during the first century slavery was a fact of life – a social phenomenon, if you will. Should one find himself in this station of life, they were to perform their duties as unto the Lord, so that all might go well with them – if not with their earthly master then with their Heavenly Master. For it is important that if one suffers it should be for their faith, not for any wrongdoing.

Historically, most slaves were indentured servants. They owed a debt and served the one they owed until their debt was paid. In today’s economy, we are removed from our masters but this kind of servitude still exists. How many people live on credit cards? We work so we can pay our bills. We may have more choices about the work we do but those that service our debt are still “masters”, and our hard work is to pay the debt we owe. In the same way that first century slaves were to serve without wrong-doing, so we too are to make our payments without wrongdoing. That means pay your debt in full, and pay on time. If you can’t make the payments, do not incur the debt.

Peter now turns to the ultimate example of submission, Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who, though perfect and sinless in every way, was insulted, brutalized, even put to death. In all this He never retaliated, never asked for justice, never lifted a finger in his own defense. It was for this reason that His death was meaningful, only the perfect God-man could become a suitable sacrifice for the sins of the world.

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