Peter’s Politics – Live with Respect - 1 Pet 2:17
June 2, 2023, 9:30 AM

“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”

Lack of respect is becoming a major problem in our society. It is common to see a lack of respect for people, for property, for truth, and for our environment. Respect is a sense of appreciation for leadership, for things that do not belong to us, to God and His world.

I like to get outdoors for camping, fishing, hiking, and picnics. I enjoyed going up to the Boundary Waters. It was upsetting to see any trash left behind. Or going to Wisconsin Dells and seeing the pristine natural beauty marred by painting inscriptions “John loves Mary” or “Fred is from the class of 1995” is disheartening.

The commands of this passage are to respect, love, fear, and honor. All those verbs require an object. We cannot do that without relationships. God tells us not only does He deserve the highest respect, but as Christians we need to respect one another. To understand that by itself should result in an attitude of respect.

Love the brothers in Christ. Fear God. We would not want to offend Him. There are things that Christians do regularly I would be afraid to do. I do not want to be responsible to stand before my Lord and be held accountable for acting in such a way as to dishonor our Lord.

I find it interesting that Peter tells them to honor the king. Remember Peter was not writing in a democracy, but rather to people living under the monarchy and the jurisdiction of the oppressive military state of Rome and the dictatorship of the emperor Caesar.

Nero was not a friend to the Christians. He would have them burned and use them as living torches at garden parties. He was an arson and tradition had it that he fiddled while Rome burned and then blamed it on the Christians. How do you honor someone like that?

As Christians we must exercise discernment in our relationship to human government. There are times when the right thing to do is set aside our own privileges and there are other times when using our citizenship is the right thing. Paul was willing to suffer personally in Philippi, but he was unwilling to sneak out of town like a criminal. When he was arrested on false charges, Paul used his citizenship to protect himself and to insist on a fair trial before Caesar.

I reflect on Peter’s politics it includes; living for God’s glory, living with an attitude of submission, with actions of righteousness, with appreciation of freedom, and doing so with an attitude of respect.

Application: Pray - Only with God’s help can we live like that.

Prayer:  Gracious Father, have mercy on us and strengthen us to live in a way that honors those You have put in authority over us.

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