1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
18Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Some observations for me personally from this…
1. VS9 Specifically refers to you and I as a “nation”. If you’re a believer that has accepted the stone rejected by men (see vs 4-8) you were not just buying a ticket out of hell. I have become part of a nation, a Holy Nation. Our King is not of this world. America is an amazing nation, possibly the greatest nation that has existed to this date, and yet cannot hold a candle to the ultimate Kingdom that Jesus will rule over here on earth in the future. But for now…
2. VS11- We’re aliens. Not Roswell aliens, but foreigners. Through out the scripture God repeatedly has a soft spot for the widow, the orphan and THE ALIEN, (the foreigner) The Old Testament is riddled with that language. Israel spent most of their time as aliens in another land. We have our physical address here but not our residence. God has a soft spot for the alien, for you and me. Does that mean that I can just check out of the process and life? ..
3. VS 13- Submit your selves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men. Peter was writing this at a time when the ruling government was Rome. The human rights abusing, oppressive, highly taxed, profanely sinful and ultimately self-destructive Rome. Peter didn’t caveat his statement with, “I know that they’re crucifying Jews and I don’t support that, but you must submit anyway”. Strangely enough, He just said submit. So should I just be silent and not lift my voice in disagreement?
4. V15 Peter suggests something simple and compelling. He suggests that we won’t silence ignorant talk of foolish men by arguing or debating but by our GOOD WORKS. What if we all were mini Mother Teresas? He does suggest that our lifestyles and abstaining for sin is key, but he says “good works”. Not just what we DON”T do, but what we DO. If we are speaking the truth with our lives and occasionally with our mouths, Peter says that is the way to silence the Bill Mahers of the world. As it stands we’ve not only not silenced them, we’ve given them plenty of extra fuel for their fire. What if the government, the rulers, the leaders turn this nation into a socialist empire that chooses to imprison or attempt to silence or punish us like they did to Peter and the early church?
5. VS18- Peter says to the slaves to submit with all respect. I want to make that applicable for today by saying that He was talking about employees, but He wasn’t. He was NOT condoning the practice of slavery, rather he was telling the slaves how they could actually defeat their captors. Not by violent uprising, but by lovingly submitting. It’s completely backwards. It’s completely the Kingdom. He says what credit is it to me if I’m punished for actually doing something wrong? The loudest voices are not from the pundits or talking heads. The most significant statement comes from our brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted, abused and dying as martyrs. I feel terribly for them, I pray for them, and yet God has their back. Peter said that Jesus set this example for us to follow. Should I just stand by and not speak out against an oppressive or socialist government should it exist?
6. VS23- Peter says that Jesus set an example by not retaliating. This is an ultimate act of faith. It is faith because I am trusting that God will in fact have His way. Abraham asked a question. He asked “Shall not the God of all the universe do what is just?” It was rhetorical but the answer, of course, is yes. It is not faith when I try to fix it myself. Faith is me standing tall, head held high knowing that God will ultimately bring His Kingdom and that EVERY knee shall bow, EVERY tongue confess, that He is in fact, Lord. (a spiritual term with vast political implications)
I personally believe that our Nation, (not America) but the Nation of Christ, is positioned better than ever to make an impact on this world. I wonder what would happen if we took these next few days, weeks, months, years and started a non violent revolution of Love. What if that love just isn’t just the tingly sensations, and not just stopping with a bunch of churches in the community for “unity “ nights. What if we go further?
What if it was a love that looked like you and I in the most unlovable of situations with the most unlovable of people serving. What if we do a better job than our government (republican or democrat) of feeding the poor. What if we as the church do a better job of adopting unwanted children who might have otherwise been aborted. What if our churches were side by side filled with people of every nationality, income bracket, and background? What if we stop asking the government to do what God clearly has asked you and I to do personally as believers? What if we silence the talk of foolish men with our good works?
We’ve seen what we can accomplish with our well-crafted arguments and debating skills. I wonder what we could do with our lives.