“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2.14-17
When I hear the word “submission” I think of a really dynamic wrestling hold by the WWE network! Of two giants in a ring pounding each other into a forceable act of giving up or surrendering. But I doubt this is what Peter had in mind when he said to the early church — “submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority.”
Now I have no doubt, because I have experienced it, that submission to authority sometimes feels like you’ve been put in a “hold” with your face pressed against the mat, and your arms and legs unable to move. Sometimes submitting to authority, which is typically against our human nature, is not always fun or pleasant.
Yet we are to submit nonetheless. Peter’s call to submission is to imitate Christ and to bear witness to his Word. By “doing good” we “silence the ignorant talk of foolish people” who want to discredit our faith. By submitting, we place our faith in God to guide us.
By submitting we “live a free people” and as “God’s slaves.” A slave to God is sonship, daughter-ship, adoption into the Kingdom Family. By submitting we are about to “show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God and honor the emperor (king, president, “P.M.”
Submitting to one another is great practice in submitting to the Lord. We don’t have anything to prove as God’s children because Jesus paid it all. He approved us, secured our salvation, and has written our names in the Lambs’ Book of Life. All who have submitted to Christ as Savior have already established their place in heaven for eternity.
Therefore, submit to God and to others. Allow your example to be see by all so that when people see you “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5.16b)
“O Lord God, submission is hard. It goes against our prideful nature. It goes against our flesh that wants to rule, conquer and overcome. But you teach with time and maturity that submission leads to obedience and obedience to holiness. Help me learn to submit first to you. To deny sin, reject evil, fear God, and love my neighbor. Help me submit out of love for you as I am being molded into your presence by the power of your Holy Spirit. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen