ROOTED | Living Scattered, Not Shattered | 1 Peter PART V | ROOTED Submission | 1 Peter 2:13-25
Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 Peter 2:13–25
This week we are continuing our series in 1 Peter called ROOTED: Living Scattered, Not Shattered. Our recent lives and cultural moments have been characterized by personal trials, political unrest, cultural upheaval, health concerns, relational turmoil, economic uncertainty, and varying degrees of individual and corporate trauma. This has caused us to be highly reactive, often discouraged, and at times experiencing crushing despair. Many of us are realizing our roots are too shallow and weak to sustain us in the storms of life. We need good news greater than our current events. We need to be rooted in what is real, true, and eternal.
When we are rooted in the transcendent, we are not reactive to the temporary.
Recap – Who are we? We are Living as Elect Exiles. ROOTED Identity, as elect exiles, loved, empowered, led by the trinity When are we in the story? When we are rooted in a living hope it gives us real joy and greater endurance in all situations. Peter has also helped the people of God (who have understand where they are in the story of God (ROOTED Hope) He started with the end (destination) in mind, to inform how the engage with their present, while being encouraged by God’s past Faithfulness. How do we grow and change? growing by the grace of the Living Word of God.. Good news for eternity should be good news for today. Our conduct matters to God, but it is a result of the transformation Christ has begun in us. Call to grow, change, holiness comes AFTER the Good News of the Gospel. Holiness is not passionless it is passion properly directed. A grace filled heart, and a truth filled mind, can produce a transformed life. The result of being ROOTED is fruitfulness. To grow in Holiness is to grow in the purity, presence, power, purposes, and passion of God found in Jesus. What is God Building us into? Individual dignity is essential for flourishing, but our significance is exponentially greater when our identity is also part of a ROOTED People. To have faith in Jesus is to be part of his people.
1 Peter 2:11-12 |11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Our eternal identity is beloved, while our internal reality is conflicted. We are passing through and we have an eternal impact in the temporary lives we live. Rooted life includes navigating the realistic challenges of being an embodied soul. To simplify again, result of being built up together and scattered in the world is we abstain from evil, and we pursue what is Good. The war in our soul may rage in the world around us may revile but our response is one of both practicing and proclaiming peace in, with, from Jesus Christ. Our lives with outsiders are to be honorable even as we are seen by them as shameful. We are to give them no reason to hate us but what is true about Jesus and God’s word. This will not be easy. How we engage with the outside/non-Christian/unbelieving world matters and it plays itself out in 3 key arenas two we will discuss this week and one next week. Civic/Political life, Economic Life, and next week Marriage/Family life.
Submission & Subversion – Obedience to authority is not often our default response, especially when we experience leadership that is at best inept or at worst unjust. How or why should we respond with submission when our desire is subversion? We remember who has ultimate authority and who will bring perfect justice. We follow leadership now knowing there is a greater King ruling forever.
PART I | Submit to Good Government | 1 Peter 2:13-17
1 Peter 2:13-17 |13 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Submit to Good Government (2:13-17) – Be submissive or obedient to earthly authority (but never to the point of sin) “Every Human Institution” is a blanket term bigger than just government to describe the legitimate systems and structures set up by humanity to encourage flourishing. This can include the church, schools, businesses, clubs, and of course government. The reason given isn’t for the institution’s sake but the Lord’s sake. Peter gets specific with the Emperor as Supreme, in this case it was Nero. He was a perpetrator of persecution. The dating of this letter precedes his worse acts of torching Christians and feeding them to the lions etc. So context matters. That means this will look very different in how you engage with institutions/government based on when and where you live. If you’re in a neighborhood with a homeowners association how you keep your yard is going to be different than if you’re out in the county. If you’re in China or New Zealand your government is set up differently. Your king doesn’t change but how you live as an ambassador does. To ‘be subject’ to the human institution in 2022 in the United States, is to be part of a Constitutional Republic which both limits Government’s authority and enshrines the people’s rights. So we don’t have an Emperor, or even autocratic governors over us but we are to have elected representative and a government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. But there are limits to how we positively respond to government and other institutions. He’s not saying do whatever anyone authority says to do, because they are not the ultimate authority. It also doesn’t mean our Constitution is infallible or always justly applied. We do not need to always remain silent or passive in the face of injustice or wrongdoing. When our forms of government It is to respond positively as government or other institution are actively promoting flourishing and punishing or prohibiting folly, sin, and evil. Government doing good should be responded to well. Our submission to Government is for the Lord’s sake and for the sake of a world watching how we respond to earthly authority. We can easily make one of two errors in how we engage with government. Either assuming those in authority have unique wisdom and are to be respected or are always incompetent and need to be rejected. The truth lies in between as leaders have the same limitations to their wisdom as everyone else, yet also have greater opportunity to bring blessing or inflict harm on others.
Freedom and Fearlessness - There is a world watching how we respond to government and authority. So part of how we live scattered and not shattered includes how we engage with these various authorities. But we should not fall into the trap of allowing the validity, integrity, or “goodness” of how we engage be defined by the world’s values and version of what is good, or who is God. Peter is clear here. There are ignorant and foolish people, some in authority, some in government who will respond to even or most sincere and winsome articulations of God’s truth with slander, ridicule, rejection, and at times persecution. Our response is to continue to do good as God defines rooted in the truth and resolved in the face of adversity this takes great courage to avoid the temptation to compromise or capitulation in the face of a culture that demands compliance and conformity. We have great freedom in Christ to live according to conscience, but not to walk in sin or conformed to a world or culture opposed to God. We are free servants of God in the world.
“We become more interested in demonstrating reasonableness according to the standards of our age than demonstrate holiness according to the standards of God.” – Professor Mary Willson Hannah
So what does being ambassadors who participate look like? Honor the Emperor & Honor Everyone – Bible believing, Jesus loving, Gospel-centered Christians can debate and disagree on political issues. Biblical principles and truth do not always translate to the indisputable endorsement or prohibition of a myriad governmental policies. For God’s Glory we engage with the Government and politically process (and discourse) in ways that don’t incite foolishness but rather subdue it. It is God’s will for wisdom to reign and foolishness to wane. We have been given a Spirit of Freedom for the purpose of flourishing not freedom for foolishness. In doing so we “honor everyone” even when not honorable. We Love the brotherhood. This means we work to maintain the bonds of unity and the level of civility in the church. It means when we disagree about freedom issues we do so without being disagreeable. We remember and giving great reverence to the God who has made us citizens and saints, and brothers and sisters in Christ. Peter can say this because he ran with a crew with Jesus that include Matthew the tax collector (corrupt tool of governmental and economic oppression) and Simon the Zealot (aggressive even volent public agitator of the status quo) Honor the emperor - Who was the emperor Nero, who blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome and use the power of the state to see several Christians “including Peter” executed systematically. Peter who saw his king, The King, Jesus, beaten by Roman soldiers, mocked as “king of the Jews”, hung up on a Roman Cross, his heart pierced by a Roman spear, and execute, and he is saying Christians should, “Honor the Emperor.” He can say that because he knows ultimately everything is God’s and the resurrection we live lives following our King and serving His world. We have a responsibly to honor the state/authority and all people AND we have a greater commitment to the brotherhood(church) and THE Greatest responsibility to the LORD. God gives limited authority to human leaders, but only He commands our souls.
PART II | Unjust Endurance | 1 Peter 2:18-21
1 Pet 2:18-21 |18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 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. 21 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.
Work Life - Who is he talking to? All of us. Peter is addressing those whose economic and social standing was the lowest or weakest. They were not slaves like we think about nor are they simply low-level employees. The concept here was that of Bondservants. They were often considered part of the family, particularly in urban Roman cities. While not given full legal status, a bondservant was often someone who owed significant debts and could have been sent to a debtors’ prison. An alternative, a family with means would pay this person’s debt in exchange for prescribed times of service to repay their debts at which time they could either be freed of there “bond” or they could willingly agree to remain part of the business or household in perpetuity if it was a house they enjoyed serving in. There was abuse, this was not ideal, let’s not pretend this wasn’t that bad. There was no freedom of movement geographically and rarely socioeconomically. Estimates are that 1/3-1/2 of all people in Roman society were slaves with some areas out numbering “free” people.
We all work for someone. We are all slaves/servants to something or someone. We all have work, even if you’re self-employed you’re not independent as you are a servant to your clients. These verses assume there are work situations that are more than merely “difficult”, they are “unjust” lit “crooked”. How do we respond to our bosses or in a work context? Recognize, you are engaging in an unjust world but that is not an excuse to behave poorly. We follow direction in our jobs but we respond to authority, even when ungodly, but like government, and we’ll see next week in marriage, absolutely do not respond or obey when it leads us to sin. We may Suffer - You may suffer and be frustrated in your work. That is actually to be expected. We were created with and for work AND there is sin in the world so work will at times be painful, unfruitful toil. There is a specific type of suffering in mind here. When we are suffering not be because we were not working in earnest but rather because we were avoiding evil and doing good. So where appropriate we submit to both the just and the unjust. We are not to suffer for evil, but we should be prepared that life will include injustice. When we suffer unjustly it reminds us Jesus also suffered unjustly. We are followers of Jesus sent out into a world hostile to Jesus we should not expect greater treatment than Christ received. We are sojourners and Jesus was a sojourner. He left his Home in heaven to work and be on mission in a world that needed him. Christ is our substitute but also our example.
“YOU WORK FOR THE KING, AND THAT CHANGES . . . EVERYTHING! …. No matter what you do, your job has inherent purpose and meaning because you are doing it ultimately for the King. Who you work for is more important than what you do.” – Sebastian Traeger, Gospel at Work
PART III | Jesus’ Submission | 1 Peter 2:22-25
1 Peter 2:22-25 |22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 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. 24 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. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Jesus’ Submission (2:22-25) – Jesus is sinless. Jesus is the truth and speaks truth. He healed, worked, cared for people, overturned tables of oppression to all of this we say YES & AMEN. Yet he was not universally loved or received. Rather he was reviled and rejected. Jesus suffered, was slandered, and face great persecution. and was treated unjustly by ungodly people including religious and governmental institution. At any moment he could have brought quick and violent revolution and retribution to Caesar, to the High Priest, to Pilate, etc. He could have said “Don’t you know who I am, don’t you know what you are doing? Don’t you know what I could do to you?!” But instead, He focused on what he came to do FOR them and for us and said, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” His path at that time one of submission. Specifically, to the will of God the Father who he trusted and submitted/obeyed to and through the CROSS, for us to be our substitute.
Jesus is our yes example, but only as much as He is first our Savior. If we say just suffer like Jesus suffered, that will shatter us. We are not able to bear the brokenness of the world or the sin in our own souls. If we say we have a savior who suffered FOR us, who was shattered/broken for us, as our substitute then we have no live a new life with a new identity in new ways. But what of the injustice Jesus suffered? What if the injustice we have or do suffer? In order for us to endure unjust government, institutions, jobs etc we need a deeply rooted trust in the full Justice of God. We have great hope God does and will right all wrongs in His timing. In the face of injustice, we trust ourselves to the judge who judges all things with perfect justice. So we can rest and live more fully as we release this situation to God knowing He WILL deal with them appropriately. This frees us to die to sin because Jesus died for our sins and live to righteousness because He lives.
The world will hurt you; we are all walking wounded. Healing doesn’t happen because we endure, but we can endure because we have been healed and are being healed by His wounds for us. We live whole and peacefully because His wounds heal us. In faith and repentance we are no longer slaves, subjects or strays. We may have a bad boss, or worse government, but we have a greater King and Savior. We can then have rest, even in the midst of suffering and injustice because we are secure sheep with a good shepherd and great guardian of our souls. So we Fear God, Love the Church and honor everyone as we Trust Jesus.
More in ROOTED: Living Scattered, Not Shattered | 1 Peter
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May 8, 2022ROOTED | Living Scattered, Not Shattered ROOTED in Suffering | 1 Peter 4:12-19