1 Peter: God’s Pilgrim People in a Hostile World – The Christian and Civil Authority

Peter Barnes | 1 Peter 2:13-15

1 Peter 2:13-15

1. Our general obligation is to submit to all civil authority.

– 2:13-14a. The Christian’s general duty towards those in authority is to submit. Prov.24:21-22; Jer.29:7.

– this is not absolute, and there are exceptions to this general principle; see Acts 5:29; Ex.1; Dan.3; Dan.6; the ten Boom family helped Jews to escape from the Netherlands when it was occupied by the Nazis in World War II. Tertullian said that Christians would pray for the emperor but they would not worship him.

– Calvin: ‘it is better to have a bad government than to have none at all.’

2. The first function of the state is to administer justice.

– 2:14b. Essentially, Peter is saying what Paul says, that the function of government is to administer justice – Rom.13:3-4. See Deut.16:18-20; Jer.22:2-5.

– C. S. Lewis: ‘Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.’

3. Doing good silences opposition.

– 2:15; to silence critics as in Matt.22:34.