Submit Yourselves

1Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 

‘Submit yourselves’ Be subject, as in Romans 13:1-7. Christians commanded to obey human laws and civil rulers as long as they do not transgress the laws of God. Ten duties of citizens are required: To be subject to civil government (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1; Tit. 3:1); to be afraid to disobey civil rulers (Rom. 13:3; Pro. 24:21); to do good (Rom. 13:4; Tit. 3:1); to pay taxes (Rom. 13:1-7; Matt. 22:17-21); to render dues to all people (Rom. 13:7); to honour civil rulers (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 23:5); to pray for civil rulers (1Tim. 2:1-2); to obey civil laws (Rom. 13:1-7; Ezr. 7:26); to do not curse rulers (Eccl. 10:20); to work for peace (Rom. 12:18).

In God’s plan He has determined that human governments shall exist to help Him carry on moral government and enforce moral laws. Even though they are appointed by God, He is not responsible for their acts, which is mainly evil and selfish. If they get out of line He will judge them, as He will all others. Some facts about human governments: They were instituted by God (2:13-17; Gen. 9:1-7; Rom. 13:1-6). Their purpose was to execute criminals and enforce law and order among people (2:13-17; Gen. 9:6; Isa. 11:4-9; 65:20; Dan. 2:21; 4:17-25; 5:21; Rom. 13:1-6). Human governments, are not founded upon the arbitrary will of God, but upon the needs of humanity in securing their highest good.

‘Ordinance’ the Greek word ktisis, always translated “creature” or “creation” except here and Hebrew 9:11. It means not only to be subject to every human ordinance, but also to every human creature that has any authority in government. The Jews thought it was unlawful to obey any ruler who wasn’t Jewish.

‘For the punishment of evildoers’ this is the purpose of human government and civil rulers, and it is only right that all good people cooperate to put lawlessness down.

‘So is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men’ when Christians obey the eight commands for pilgrims, they not only do the will of God, “but put to silence” the enemies of Christianity. The eight commands for pilgrims are: Abstain from fleshly lusts (2:11); live honest lives before men (2:12); submit to human civil rulers (2:13-15); be free, but live godly (2:16); honour all men (2:17); love the brotherhood (2:17); fear God (2:17), and honour the king (2:17).

‘Silence’ [Greek: phimoo] translated “put to silence” (2:15; Matt. 22:34); “be speechless” (Matt. 22:12); “hold one’s peace” (Mark 1:25; Luke 4:35); “be still” (Mark 4:39); and “to muzzle” (1Cor. 9:9; 1Tim. 5:18).

‘Ignorance’ [Greek: agnosia] translated “ignorance” (2:15) and “not knowledge” (1Cor. 15:34). This rightly pictures foolish men who do not seem to have intelligence enough to accept Christianity (cp. Ps. 14:1).

‘Foolish’ [Greek: aphron] meaning senseless; witless; crazed or silly.

‘As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God’ Jews considered themselves servants to no one but God. They used this doctrine for a cloak of maliciousness to justify their many rebellions against Rome and other nations. Peter warned them to be subject to civil rulers in all lands proving they were true servants of God.

‘Honour all men’ Romans 13:7 says: “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Withhold nothing from civil government or its lawful officers that is required of you to pay. Pay taxes, customs, fear, and honour to all people over you in public life.

‘Brotherhood’ this means all true Christians in the one family of God (Eph. 3:6, 14-15) who represents the male (Heb. 2:11-12) body of Christ.

‘Fear God’ – fear [have respect] God who gave these commands lest He punish you for disobedience.

‘Honour the king’ honour the emperor or the highest civil ruler, for human government came from God (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7) even though the rulers are of darkness (Eph. 6:12).

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