1 Peter 2:13-17 ESV
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to obey the governing authorities over us, whether they are good or bad. But, this does not mean we do so blindly, or that we never have just cause to resist authorities.
For, Jesus also told his disciples that, although they had to obey the scribes and the Pharisees, who sat in Moses’ seat, that they were not to be like them. They were not to copy their behavior, for they did not practice what they preached, i.e. the scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites (Matt. 23:3).
So, this meant that if the authorities commanded certain actions out of the disciples which were contrary to their faith in Jesus Christ, or that were contrary to Jesus’ teaching, that they didn’t have to do it. They didn’t have to obey the authorities if obeying meant disobeying God and denying Christ.
This also doesn’t mean that we are to believe everything they tell us, either, for we might end up following after a lie, making humans our gods, and we might end up rejecting the truth. And, we might end up looking to them to be our “saviors” rather than looking to God to be the one to rescue us.
For, Jesus warned his disciples against the Pharisees and Sadducees who were in positions of authority over the Jewish people. He warned them against the “yeast” of the Pharisees and Sadducees, i.e. against their teaching, their doctrines, and their craftiness and deceptions, which had the potential to secretly infuse and permeate the minds of the believers. He warned his disciples to keep watch, to be on their guard, so that they would not be infected with these false teachings and deceptions (Matt. 16:6).
So, as a general rule, we are to obey our government officials, even if we disagree with what they are doing, and even if we feel that what they are doing is unjust or deceptive. For, this is good in the sight of God that we should obey our governing authorities. We are not to be rebellious, to be unruly, to be destructive, or to be disrespectful.
But, this doesn’t mean that we have to submit to evil, to sinning against God, and/or to doing what goes against our consciences with regard to God’s will for our lives. We can respectfully say “No” to what we know is wrong, just like the disciples did when they were commanded to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. They said they had to obey God rather than man.
And, this also doesn’t mean that we can’t question what they are telling us if we know they are lying to us, or that we can’t warn others against their lies, for Jesus told his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees. And, the Scriptures warn us against worshiping the beast and against taking its mark (influence) on our minds (foreheads) and on our deeds (hands).
1 Peter 2:18-20 ESV
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 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.”
Although we might not yet be “slaves” to those in authority over us, in the truest sense of the word “slave,” still the governing authorities may act as though we are their slaves, and as though they are our masters. And, they may inflict upon us what is cruel, heartless, unjust, unfair, hypocritical, and even what is meant to do us harm and to bring us to our knees physically, financially and emotionally, and because they are of the “beast.”
For, God has called us to suffer unjustly for righteousness’ sake. And, so we should not be surprised or overtaken by the fact that this kind of suffering is now upon us. And, it is unjust, I believe, for it is based in a lie, which should be obvious to all by now. There are just so many inconsistencies in what our leaders are doing and saying. So much of it is so illogical. Anyone who practices “critical thinking” should be able to see through the charade.
And, we can’t just listen to mainstream media as our total source for “truth,” either, or we may be grossly misled as to what is truly going on. For, not everyone tells the truth. Any reasonable person should realize that politicians lie, and government officials lie, and the media lies, if it suits their purposes, and if it advances their agendas.
And, then we have to believe the Bible. We have to believe that there is an entity of some kind that is conquering the world one nation at a time, and that they are working towards bringing all of us under the rule of one totalitarian regime. And, then we have to look at what is going on in the world through God’s lens, and through the lens of his Word, and we have to stop accepting everything we hear, see, or read at face value, or we are prime for being deceived and taken advantage of.
So, yes, obey your government officials. Do what they tell you that you must do, unless it contradicts God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – or unless it contradicts the Word of God and what God has warned us against. And, the Holy Spirit will warn us against certain things we need to know about so that we don’t unknowingly submit (bow to) the beast. So, we have to be in tune with the Holy Spirit so we can hear what he has to say to us at this time.
For example, the Lord told me a long time ago that I was to stop taking medicine of any kind, and I did. And I have been pharmaceutical drug independent for nearly 12 years. Praise the Lord! For, I believe some of these medications they want us to take are harmful to us, so we need to pray for wisdom regarding these matters, I believe. For, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are not our own. We belong to God!
1 Peter 2:21-25 ESV
“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. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 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. 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. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
In all of this, we are to follow the example of Jesus Christ. He did not defile himself with the things of the world or with the doctrines of the Pharisees, either. He didn’t do what they did. And, if what they required was contrary to God’s divine nature and will for us, Jesus didn’t bow to them. He did what was right in the eyes of God rather than to do what was right in the eyes of man, and that is one of the reasons they killed him, too.
Yet, we are also to follow his example for how Jesus handled unjust treatment, which is not all covered in these few verses, either. For, he did speak boldly to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, and he publicly warned his disciples against following their example. And, he publicly chastised these hypocritical liars so that his disciples would not follow their lead.
Jesus spoke the truth, in love, even though he was reviled for it, in return. He did what was right, even if it didn’t meet the approval of the governing authorities in the Jewish nation. He confronted sin in sinful humans, and he called out injustices and lies and hypocrisies and false teaching. And, he warned of divine judgment, and he called people to repentance and obedience to himself and to the Father, even though chided for it.
So, we need to keep speaking the truth, in love. And, we need to not bow to those who say we need to soften the message or that we all need to come together as one unified people across the globe, inclusive of all religions and all walks of life. We need to not buy into their lies, but we need to be followers of the truth of God’s Word.
And, we need to be those who share the truth of the gospel that says that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness – even in the face of much opposition (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, we need to not live in fear of what man may do to us, either, if we stand on the truth, and if we do not give way to the lies. For, God is with those of us who are his by faith in Jesus Christ, and he will carry us through anything which he allows in our lives.
Our God, He is Alive
Music and Lyrics by A.W. Dicus
Our God, whose Son upon a tree,
A life was willing there to give,
That He from sin might set man free,
And evermore with Him could live.
There is a God, He is alive,
In Him we live and we survive;
From dust our God created man,
He is our God, the great I Am…
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