Christian Citizens; How To Live Godly In An Ungodly Society

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. “-{ 1 Peter 2:13-15}

GOD’S MOTIVATION of WHY and HOW Christians Are to “SUBMIT” To Civil Authorities and live as Godly Citizens, in an Ungodly society.

It was a horrific time, slaves were the norm in this society, Christians were treated with suspicion, they were seen as anti government because they would not confess Nero as LORD but instead said Jesus was LORD. They were also accused of sacrificing children. And in the midst of a Godless society they are told how they should conduct themselves towards government authorities in that society. They were to “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,  or to governors,…”-{v13-14}. There it is. Clear and concise!

4 Reasons To Submit To Civic Authorities….

  1. “For the LORD’S Sake.”-{v13}
  2. It is “GOD’S WILL.” -{v15}
  3. It is Meant to EFFECT SOCIETY FOR GOOD.- “Doing Good.”-{v 15}. It is meant to have an effect “..by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” The Greek word translated “silence,” is where we get our English word “muzzle, retrain, gag” from! It means to shut them up, so they cannot speak against the life you are living as a citizen with virtues and righteousness being lived out by you – A Reflection of your Relationship with the LORD!
  4. It GLORIFIES GOD. – “…they may BECAUSE of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of  visitation…”  God using your humble submission and good deeds to testify and point them to the LORD and they remembering you and your good submissive live when God comes to save them! It is a Gospel opportunity! An Opportunity to Testify and be a Witness!

The passage shows Government exist for a Purpose, and one reason is – “…to punish to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”-{v14}

Here is  one aspect of how a government authority should function, “punish those who do wrong,” in other words there are consequences, to lawlessness, for a society to function orderly, but also note, “… and to commend those who do right!” People who do the right thing, need to be commended, for being good citizens, promoting model citizenship, and these are to be commended for how they are living and the choices they make to add to the promotion of a good orderly society. We don’t usually hear much of the decent citizens who are “doing right,” they don’t seem to get the headlines , but such are to be commended from God’s perspective. He notes how a society is to function in relation to governing authorities and  these two simple principles, ” punish those who do wrong…commend those who do right.” There is “Right and Wrong” and instructions of what the attitude is to be towards each. And God wants  the people in Peter’s day, no matter what people accuse them of, to show themselves examples of model Citizens who are to be commended for doing right!

In verse 12 we read, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may BECAUSE of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of  visitation…” The believers were accused of doing wrong…. and yet they are told to show through their life the opposite, to do good and that “…they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us…” Look at the power of the message, He instructs them how to live and WHY they are to live so… for the GLORY of God and as a TESTIMONY that when God comes to visit some of them with salvation they may remember the testimony of lawful believers whose lives pointed to Him, the God of order who transforms lives for the “good” of others!  Being a Godly citizen in an ungodly society matters. IT MATTERS TO GOD… It Matters to those who watch your life, your responses, your choices, it matters for the sake of the Gospel! The believers we” ?re being persecuted and accused of being “evil doers,” they were maligned, slandered and suffering persecution and in the midst of the darkness of a depraved, ungodly society they are called to let their light shine through their good deeds, that the antagonists may “see” their “good deeds…” to what end? That when God visits with salvation as many commentators believe this is what Peter is referring to… they may have a reference of seeing the transformed lived of God honoring people in a society that did not live to Honor God and who persecuted His people!

And what is Heavens’s Word to these suffering, slandered believers? ” Submit yourselves…” It is a command, not up for debate, discussion or disobedience!  The word “Submit,”  from the Greek word “hupotasso” is literally a military term which means “to arrange in military fashion under the commander.” It is speaking about an attitude, of putting yourself in an attitude of submission. It is speaking of humility and submission. In that society Humility and submission was looked down upon and considered weakness and cowardly expressed by those who were weak! And no man in that society would ever laud such virtues! So even by doing good, the believers would suffer ridicule as weaklings. Think about it, for doing God’s will at times does not led to the applause of people but the scorn, mocking, ridicule, “But God…” we do it for Him, because He says so, and as difficult as it is He has purpose and that was for some whom He would save they would  be able to refer  in their memory of what they had sen form the follower of Christ’s lives, that they were not insurrectionists, they were not “evil doers” but they were doers of good!

The Believers are to live exemplary lives as model citizens so the things they are accused of are refuted through their Godly choices and living out their faith, so their faith in Christ can not be attacked as lawless people, but people’s whose lives point to the transforming power of the Gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ and their lives Testify to the difference the LORD Jesus has brought, is bringing in their lives and it begins with their Humble Submission to the authorities in the land! God is a God or Order not chaos, disorder and His order for His followers is to be doers of “good deeds” and that happens when their is the attitude followed by the acts of submission to God’s will, God’s way for them, by submitting to the civil authorities! And He hasn’t changed His mind for us today in our society! Unless the civil authorities are asking us to disobey, deny our LORD Jesus, then humbly submit…

Here Are FOUR MOTIVATIONS to Live out Your Faith in Society as a God Honoring Citizen by Submitting to civic Authorities!

  1. “For the LORD’S SAKE, …”
  2. “GOD’S WILL…”
  3.  EFFECT SOCIETY- FOR GOOD -by “Doing Good” in submitting to His Command!
  4. IT GLORIFIES GOD – A GOSPEL OPPORTUNITY

And when you “Submit yourselves…,” you Honor Him! Aren’t these great, Godly reasons for you and me to choose to Honor Him by OBEYING His COMMAND to “SUBMIT…” which These verses teach us…

“Submit yourselves FOR the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. FOR it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” -{1 Peter 2:13-15}.

Be a God Honoring Citizen in a Godless society because He tells you and me to. Who should be the best Citizens in a community? Followers of Christ! Be that light in your community, through submission ultimately to the LORD and in humility submitting and serving Him in the community He has placed you in at this moment- 🙂