Perhaps the most challenging attitude for a Christian to maintain is that of submitting to authority.  It is the nature of mankind to think and act independently of God.  Such was the case in the Garden, when disobedience to the authority of God ushered into humanity the sin nature. Even prior to that, Scripture records angelic rebellion led by Lucifer against God.  Therefore, it is not surprising that Peter in his discourse on godly living would address the necessity of believers submitting to the authorities over them. “Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.  For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Pet. 2:13-15 NASB).  At the time of writing this epistle, a majority of the population of the Roman Empire was comprised of slaves.  These were the peoples conquered by the Romans and placed into positions of labor, some menial, but others in professional endeavors.  In response to hearing the gospel concerning the work of Christ on the Cross, many of these slaves had become believers.  Salvation did not change their social position in the Empire, but it caused a dramatic change in their spiritual standing for … “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14 NKJV). Having placed their faith in the saving work of Christ on the Cross, they were now bond-servants of Jesus Christ and that demanded an attitude of humility and respect toward those in authority over them.  No doubt in some cases the masters themselves were Christians and exercised their authority fairly and were compassionate toward their staff and appreciative of them.  But others were quite the opposite.  While the human tendency would be to rebel when mistreated or unjustly accused of a wrong, Peter tells his readers to submit to every human institution. This included submission not only to their masters but also to governmental officials or anyone who exercised authority over them.  The persons in authority may not have been worthy of honor, but the Christian was to respect the office or position for the Lord’s sake.  Paul would write … “Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience” (Rom. 13:5 NIV). How a believer responded to the authority over them would become a witness for Christ especially when unjust rulers were persecuting Christians. These bond-servants of Christ were to commit to the Lord the outcome of such rulers for … “it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to the wise men and knowledge to men of understanding” (Dan. 2:21 NASB).   The exception to the mandate to submit is seen when Daniel was forbidden to pray to His God.  Though thrown into the lion’s den, God’s deliverance resulted in the king coming to believe in Daniel’s God.  Likewise, when ordered to cease preaching in the name of Jesus, the apostles stated that it was necessary to obey God rather than man.  In one century, the early Church turned the world upside down for Christ. The godly life and witness of believers were evident throughout the empire.  “When they [Jewish religious leaders] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 NIV).

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