Believers Should Submit To Authorities Because They Are Free From Sin
Liveasfreemen, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king .1 Peter 2:16-17
You can imagine people as they are thinking about Nero and their evil officials in the government. Why should I still pay taxes to a man who is trying to kill us? That is illogical. How can it be possible? Some might even scoff at this exhortation to respect and honor the king.
Peter says it is possible because they were freemen.
InterpretationQuestion: What does Peter mean by Christians being freemen in the context of submission?
He is talking about freedom from the slavery of sin. Listen to what Jesus said:
Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.John 8:3436
See, Peter realizes that true freedom is freedom from sin. Sin enslaves us. It enslaves us to unforgiveness it enslaves us to bitterness. The one who is truly free is free to obey God, free to love him and free to love others. Listen again to what Paul said in Romans 8:7, The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to Gods law, nor can it do so.
ApplicationQuestion: How can a believer start to walk in the freedom Christ has given them to forgive, serve, submit or bless those who have hurt them?
What Does It Mean To Submit Ourselves To God
With God, there is only light, love, and mercy. Submitting ourselves to God will lead to a life of pure devotion to God and a joyful life in worship to the Savior of our souls.
- Vivian BrickerContributing Writer
Submitting ourselves to God is a common topic throughout the Bible. In the New Testament, James tells us, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you . Submitting ourselves to God can be difficult, but never fear we are going to discover what it means to submit ourselves to God.
Believers Should Submit To Authorities To Honor God
Submit yourselves for theLordssake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority .1 Peter 2:13
The first reason believers are called to submit is because of the Lord. Peter says we should submit for the Lords sake. This is the reason that believers can demonstrate lives full of submission even amidst persecution. It is because they live a life of submission to the Lord.
Look at what Paul taught in Romans 13:12,
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Paul says believers must submit because there is no authority except that which comes from God and to rebel against the authority is to rebel against God. We see this very clearly in the scenario with David and Saul. David had been anointed as future king, and yet King Saul wanted to kill him. He threw a spear at David, had soldiers come to his house to take him, and chased him through the mountains, and yet David always said this, I will not touch Gods anointed. Who can touch Gods anointed and be guiltless? Look at what he says:
Do you see God as having established your pastors, your small-group leaders, your bosses, your president, even those who are ungodly?
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Warning To Rich Oppressors
5 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
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Paul then offers a reason why wives should submit to their husbands. He says, For the husband is the head of the wife . A wife should submit to her husband because God has placed the husband in a role of authority over his wife. Head here clearly represents authority over and not source . Notice that Paul does not base his argument on culture or societal norms. Instead, he bases it on the God-appointed leadership role given to the husband . Submission does not imply an inherent inferiority. Christ is equal in status to the Father but willingly submits himself to his Fathers will . In the same way, women are equal in value and worth to men, since both are created in Gods image. But, based on Gods design, men and women assume different roles in the marriage relationship. Again Paul draws a comparison: as Christ is the head of the church. Christ is the head of the church in a way analogous to the husbands being the head of his wife. Paul further clarifies that the church is Christs body, an image used earlier in Ephesians . Christ relates to the church as its Savior, as he redeemed her for himself.
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What Are The Best Bible Verses About Submission
What does submitting to God mean? According to the dictionary, submission is defined as the act of yielding to a superior force or authoritative entity. It means putting others above yourself and not doing your own will. As a Christian, you must put Gods desires above yours. Submitting to God is often the hardest of all tasks, yet its the most necessary because it means completely surrendering to Gods will also. Its one thing to know Gods will, but it is another to do it. Discover the four best Bible verses about submission to serve as a reminder for you.
Believers Should Submit To Authorities To Quiet Those Who Are Antagonistic Toward Christianity
For it is Gods will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.1 Peter 2:15
Peter tells us one of the reasons for our submission should be to silence the ignorant talk of foolish men or those who do not believe in God. Psalms 14:1 says, The fool says in his heart there is no God. No doubt, many of these Christians again were being mocked, passed over for promotion, and persecuted. Nero actually cursed the Christians and used them as a scapegoat for the Great Fire of Rome. He accused them of starting the fire and also angering the gods because Christians wouldnt worship them.
These Christians bore the sting of unjust accusation and slander because of their beliefs and their chaste lives. Instead of responding with disobedience or anger, they were to respond with submission, and it would essentially quiet the mouths of those who cursed Christianity and the God of Christianity.
The word silence is actually the word muzzle. It meant to make a person incapable of responding. Yes, believing in a resurrected Lord, a seven-day creation, etc., may seem foolish, but when Christians live such wonderful lives, it silences the lies and the accusations against them and shows the beauty of Christ. This would be even more important in a society where Christianity is not accepted but rejected as foolishness.
Paul said it this way:
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Submission Does Not Mean Living Or Acting In Fear
This God-fearing wife is fearless.
Submission is the calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husbands leadership, and to help carry it through according to her gifts.
I love the Scriptures. Im a complementarian. I believe that men are called to a unique kind of leadership in marriage. I believe that women are called to a unique kind of submission in marriage. And I think its a beautiful thing the way those two roles complement and serve one another. If we probe the depths and keep digging into the Scriptures, even though theyre written in another time, they will shape a marriage today into a beautiful thing.
Therefore, in light of everything I have said submission is not, I would define submission in marriage like this: Submission is the defined calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husbands leadership, and so help to carry it through according to her gifts.
The clip above is from our Look at the Book event on 1 Peter 23. Look at the Book is John Pipers latest effort to help teach people to read the Bible for themselves. Its an ongoing series of 812 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher.
Submission Does Not Mean Getting All Of Her Spiritual Strength Through Her Husband
Submission does not mean getting all of her spiritual strength through her husband. Hes not giving her any spiritual strength in this text and shes got lots of it. Her hope is in God.
Shes probably going to church on Sunday morning before he gets up, getting her strength elsewhere, getting her worldview elsewhere.
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Believers Should Submit To Authorities Because Of The Example Of Christ
To this you were called, becauseChristsufferedforyou,leavingyouanexample, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. 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. 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. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls .1 Peter 2:21-25
Another reason Peter gives for submitting to authorities, especially unjust authorities, is the example of Christ. Let us remember that Christ lived the perfect life of submission. It was submission that sent him to the cross. He submitted to the Fathers will. He did not complain when things got bad or become angry with God. No, he submitted to the Father.
But he did not just submit to the Father he submitted to the unjust authorities and suffered for us. He did not curse Pilate. In fact, he talked about how God had given Pilate this power, this authority. Look at what he said:
Do you refuse to speak to me? Pilate said. Dont you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you? Jesus answered, You would have nopowerovermeifitwerenotgiventoyoufromabove. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin .John 19:1011
Here are a few thoughts:
Do What You Know Is Right
This last verse in chapter 4 seems so random at first glance. We have just talked about plans, and suddenly, James says we should do what we know is right.
I propose this last verse in chapter 4 is a summary statement or a conclusion of what we have read so far in the book of James.
I believe that because the statement sums up and encourages us one more time to take everything we have just learned and put it into action. That, of course, is James’s main message: Put your faith into action.
Secondly, the tone of the letter, especially in the original language, is about to change in chapter 5. In this last chapter, James is going to quickly address the oppressors and the oppressed before making his closing statements. More on that next week.
So let’s look at this, James 4:17, as a summary to all we have read so far.
James has told us to continue in our faith through trial, to put our faith into action, to not show favoritism to the rich, to watch our words, to focus on true wisdom and submission to God, and to plan with God and mine.
Now, ladies, put what you have learned into practice, because James says, If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin to them.
Thanks to our detailed time in the Book of James, you now know what you should do. So, let’s go and do.
May God help us all to continue to live out our faith in Him.
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Promote Peace Or Conflict
Remember that James has just talked to us about behavior unfitting for believers in the first portion of James 3. He focused on the power of our words, warning us that we should not slander people with the same lips that praise the Lord.
James continues to encourage us to live out our faith with the right kind of wisdom. He says that true wisdom shows in our action – something he already told us about faith.
In fact, in James 1:26-27, he addressed those who believe themselves to be religious. He says that our religion is actually worthless if it doesn’t show in love and care for those in need.
James makes a similar statement here when he addresses those who think themselves wise but their actions do not show God’s values. The world might think a person with ambition and power is wise, but James calls that type of wisdom earthly, unspiritual, and even demonic. He says it is that kind of “wisdom” that leads to disorder and evil.
Instead, James tells us that wisdom from above looks like this: pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. This is the wisdom that leads to peace, and those who practice it will harvest righteousness.
This is where our Bible starts a new chapter, but I want you to see that his flow of thought continues seamlessly.
James also reminds us again what we should do when we really desire something. Instead of being jealous and angry with those who have it, we should ask God.
Submission Does Not Mean Leaving Your Brain At The Altar
Now, maybe this is the same point, but it needs to be said this way, too. Any man who says, I do the thinking in this family, is sick and has a sick view of his authority. I dealt with a couple one time. The wife said he demanded that she get permission to go to the bathroom. That really happened. I just looked at him and said, Youre not well. You have an unbelievably distorted view of this fellow heir of the grace of life. You dont understand the Bible. Youre taking a word like authority or leadership or submission, and then youre stepping away from the Bible and filling those words up with stuff you want to do. Youre not getting this from the Bible.
Submission never leaves the brain at the altar. All throughout the marriage, a husband is reckoning with an independent mental center that has thoughts that are worth listening to. Its the working out of a one-flesh union. Leadership does not mean you do not listen. Leadership doesnt even mean always getting the last word. Good leadership often says, You were right I was wrong.
Leadership is taking initiative. Sometimes I say, Who says, Lets . . . , more often in your relationship?
Lets go out to eat.Lets try to get our finances in order.Lets get to church on time next Sunday.
Submission does not mean living or acting in fear.
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Submission Does Not Mean You Do Not Try To Influence Your Husband
Submission does not mean avoiding the effort to influence or change the husband. The whole point of the text is, Win him. Her life is devoted to changing this husband from an unbeliever to a believer. Can you imagine if somebody said submission means, Stop trying to change your husband? Well, I get what they might be saying. But if your husband is living in sin or your wife is living in sin or unbelief, you want them to change, and you wouldnt be a loving person if you didnt if you stopped wanting that. That may sound insubordinate to some. Its not, biblically.
Believers Should Submit To Authorities Because Of Reward
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. For it iscommendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is consciousofGod. 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 iscommendablebeforeGod .1 Peter 2:18-20
What is the next reason Peter gives for submission to authorities?
In 1 Peter 2:18-20, he talks specifically to slaves who are serving harsh masters. He does not tell them to run away or break free. He says submit to them because it is commendable before God. To commend means topraise,honororcongratulate. God will reward those who submit to authorities, especially harsh authorities. In fact, I think he gives us a secret to enable us. We must live with a consciousnessofGod . We must have an awareness of his presence in order to enable us to submit. Listen again to what he says in 1 Peter 2:19: For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.
This submission in the face of unjust suffering will result in commendation and reward from God. The believer should submit with a consciousness of the God who rewards those who are faithful. Listen to what Christ said:
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