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Submission To Authority

Daily Devotional 1 Peter 2: 13-17

Many of us don’t respond well to authority. Pastor Greg Gilbert explains: “Authority often strikes people as an inherently negative, abusive, or tyrannical concept...But authority isn’t inherently bad...In fact, authority is integral to God’s created order, and when his work of creation was completed, the structure of authority he’d established in the world was good and beautiful.”

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority.

1 PETER 2:13

Submission to authority is a prominent theme in 1 Peter. It’s another example of how we should live holy lives as the people of God and be a good witness to unbelievers (vv. 12, 15).

Today’s passage focuses on our submission to civil authority (vv. 13– 14). By “human authority,” Peter meant legitimate government institutions at various levels. Their larger purpose is justice and the common good, which we should support. In any case, their authority has been established by God and we should submit “for the Lord’s sake” (see Rom. 13:1–7). What about Peter’s statement, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29)? This is true, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. Too often, we use this excuse when it’s not really about obedience to God but when we are focused on our personal rights and opinions. It’s worth remembering that the emperor at this time was Nero (54–68 A.D.) who persecuted Christians.

Peter reminded his readers that spiritual freedom is not an excuse for license, throwing aside restraint and responsibility (v. 16; see also Gal. 5:13). As Christ-followers, we’re in but not of this world. The gospel’s reputation shouldn’t be tarnished by the “ignorant talk of foolish people” (vv. 15, 16). Paradoxically, freedom in Christ means we should “live as God’s slaves” (v. 16).

>> Today, think about the people God has placed in positions of authority over you, whether at home, at work, or in your community. How can you honor them? Praying for them is one way to start.

Pray with Us

Father, please convict us of ways we fail to behave biblically toward authorities in our lives. Don’t let us deceive ourselves by justifying ungodly attitudes. Our goal is not to protect ourselves, but to honor You.

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