"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"
Pilgrims And The Governments Of Men (1 Pe 2:13-17)
1. Throughout our study in 1st Peter, we have noticed that, as
"pilgrims," those who are Christians have many blessings and
2. For example, in our previous study we saw that, as "pilgrims and
sojourners," we are to have our conduct honorable among those with
whom we live
3. But what about our responsibilities to those governments of men
under which we live?
4. When our true citizenship is in heaven, do we have any
responsibilities to the countries on earth?
[Peter addresses this very question in 1 Pe 2:13-17 ...]
I. THE PILGRIMS' RESPONSIBILITY IN ONE WORD: SUBMIT! (Vs 13-14)
A. WE ARE TO SUBMIT "TO EVERY ORDINANCE OF MAN"...
1. The word "submit"...
a. Means "be subject to," signifying "to place one's self
under subjection; to render one's self subordinate"
b. This will not be the only time in this epistle that
Christians will be told to be submissive -
cf. 1 Pe 2:18; 1 Pe 3:1; 1 Pe 5:5
2. In this case, we are told to submit "to every ordinance of
a. The word "ordinance" literally means "a creation"
1) The Greeks and Romans were accustomed to describe the
appointment of officers as the "creation" of them
2) Therefore, the expression "ordinance" actually refers...
a) Not to a particular law passed by government
b) But to the civil government or institution itself
3) Cf. the NASV, "to every human institution"
b. Note also, we are to submit to EVERY human institution
1) Whether it be a monarchy, democracy, or totalitarian
2) The responsibility of pilgrims is still the same:
B. THE APOSTLE PAUL TAUGHT THE SAME PRINCIPLE...
1. We are to be subject to the governing authorities ("higher
powers", KJV) - Ro 13:1
2. We MUST be subject, and show such submission by paying taxes
and customs, and showing respect and honor to our officials -
[Our responsibility as pilgrims to the governments of men under which
we live is quite simple: submit to them.
But submission is not always an easy thing to do. What reasons do
Peter and Paul give that might motivate us to submit to our governments
as we should?]
II. REASONS WHY WE MUST SUBMIT (Vs 15-17)
A. PETER GIVES US TWO GOOD REASONS...
1. First and foremost, "this is the will of God" - 1 Pe 2:15a
a. Cf. also, "for the Lord's sake" - 1 Pe 2:13
b. That ought to suffice for all true servants of God
2. Peter further explains why this is the Lord's will...
a. That we may "put to silence the ignorance of foolish men"
- 1 Pe 2:15b
b. Because of their allegiance to a heavenly King, Christians
are often falsely accused of sedition or treason -
e.g., Ac 17:5-8
c. By doing good (e.g., submitting to the governing authorities),
we can "silence" (literally, muzzle) such ignorant charges
B. PAUL GIVES US ANOTHER GOOD REASON...
1. Governing authorities that exist have been appointed by God!
- Ro 13:1
a. This truth is emphasized in the book of Daniel - cf. Dan 2:20-21;
Dan 4:17; Dan 4:25; Dan 4:32
b. Even those who are evil, which God uses for His divine
purposes and then replaces -
cf. Exo 9:16 (Egypt); Isa 10:5-12 (Assyria)
2. This being the case, to resist the government means to resist
God Himself! - Ro 13:2-4
[So lest we find ourselves resisting against God Himself, let God's
"pilgrims" freely submit to the powers ruling over them. In so doing,
we will also silence those who might falsely accuse us of wrong-doing.
But is the principle of submission to government without exception? Is
there ever a time when Christians are justified in refusing to obey
governmental authorities? From Peter himself, we learn...]
III. THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE
A. IT IS NOT "WHENEVER GOVERNMENT IS OPPRESSIVE..."
1. Consider the government and conditions under which Peter and
a. The government was totalitarian, with Nero as ruler, an
evil, tyrannical emperor
b. Under his reign, Christians suffered greatly -
cf. 1 Pe 4:12-13; 1 Pe 5:8-9
c. Eventually, even Peter himself was crucified, and Paul was
2. Under such oppressive governments, our responsibilities remain
a. We are to submit
b. We are to pray for our rulers, that peace may prevail -
cf. 1 Ti 2:1-2
c. Who knows? Perhaps God who "removes kings and raises up
kings" will answer our prayers and give us rulers who are
good and just!
B. THE EXCEPTION: WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MAN!
1. As illustrated by Peter and the rest of the apostles -
cf. Ac 4:18-20; Acts 5:27-29
2. Only when government tries to force us to disobey God, must we
then disobey the government
3. Even then, it is only the particular laws designed to force us
to disobey God that we have a right to break; we have no
authority to break other laws in protest
4. Rather, we are charged to pray for those in authority, and
submit to them in all other areas
1. Such is our responsibility as pilgrims under whatever government we
may find ourselves as we sojourn here on earth
a. Even though we have liberty and freedom in Christ, we should use
that freedom in serving the Lord - cf. 1 Pe 2:16
b. As we do so, we will show honor and respect to those in authority
- cf. 1 Pe 2:17
2. Of course, we who live in countries that allow freedom of religion
should be especially quick to show our respect and submission, and
to thank God daily for this wonderful privilege!
Speaking of freedom of religion, are we taking advantage of such
freedom by rendering obedience to God? Perhaps there are those who
have not yet done so... - cf. He 5:9
About These Outlines ~~~ Submit An Outline ~~~ Back To Main Outlines ~~~ Home Page