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1 Peter 2:11-17 – A Rationale for Christian Obedience

Summary

Prior to specific exhortations to slaves, husbands and wives, those caught in the midst of increasing persecution, and Christian leaders, this passage outlines the general principles of obedience to Christ.

Analysis

Readers are urged to practice good conduct in their lives in society so that even unbelievers will see their good deeds and one day be moved to glorify God. They are to bear even unjust social structures, practices, and governments "for the Lord's sake," because by doing right they will put to silence false charges by foolish opponents. Finally, they are called servants ("slaves," literally) of God; because of that, they now live as free people (free from living only for themselves and free to live for others, not using their ultimate freedom as a pretext for evil). It should come as no surprise that this passage and others like it were drawn upon by Christians serving under the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe in the latter half of the twentieth century.

1 Peter 2:11-17

Live as Servants of God

11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. 12Conduct yourselves honourably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honourable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge.*

13 For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution,* whether of the emperor as supreme, 14or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. 16As servants* of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. 17Honour everyone. Love the family of believers.* Fear God. Honour the emperor.

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10 February 2011

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