One of our New Years Resolutions has been the creation of a new-and-improved schedule for our week. Out of that I, Erick, have decided to begin reading all of those New Testament books that you never really find yourself gravitating towards. You know what i mean: Jude, Titus, Philemon, & Hebrews. They’re just not the popular books like Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, etc.
After I finished “The Forgotten Four,” I decided to move on to the next set of books that I rarely read: 1 & 2 Peter and 1, 2 & 3 John. It is from the pages of 1 Peter 2 that I meet you guys here today. In verses 13 through 25 Peter entitles the section: “Submission to Authority.”
I’ll admit, this is something I am not the best at. Especially in the way that Peter talks about it here. Now, based on the language that he uses, it would appear that there were exiled Christians whom Peter was writing to, and they were having problems with authority, especially the emperor of Rome who exiled them.
Peter tells us that we are to suffer as Christ has suffered for us, and that we are to be subject to not only those that are above us that are just, but the unjust as well.
This is where I stopped. I said to myself (and a bit to Peter), “how can I be subject to the unjust master, or boss or authority figure?? That’s not fair. What if my subjection doesn’t elicit a change in their behavior and they just keep treating me and everyone else unjustly? What if I’m the only one doing it and it just becomes worse for me? Where’s the justice in that??”
Peter (and I’m certain Jesus) answered right back with verse 19-25.
“For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
God reminded me that nothing is about me, or fairness, or making sure my actions teach my unjust boss the lesson. It’s all about God. All about His glory, His grace and His sacrifice. There is no amount of unjust suffering that I could endure that would equate to what Christ did for me and for you. It would be like complaining about your leaky roof to a homeless man, or complaining about having stomach pains because you ate too much to the starving and hungry. Who do we think we are?
We need to be more mindful of our attitudes around our authority figures. Take a few moments today and re-read 1 Peter 2:19-25, thank Christ for all He has done for you, and think about how you can be a better example of Christ to those around you and who have authority over you. Just or unjust.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16