“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…” 1Peter 2:13
The third reason the Apostle Peter gives for Christians to submit to human institutions is Verse 16, “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as slaves of God.”
The Christian is set free from sin by the power of the resurrection. In the court of heaven, sin was placed upon Christ during His crucifixion and carried far away when He went into the grave. Gloriously, the Christian receives the very righteousness of Christ because He rose victoriously over the grave and proved to be the sinless Lamb of God. The transfer of sin to Christ and His righteousness to the believer is not meant to be judicial only but also dramatically practical. We are to be set free from the bondages of sin.
Therefore, Peter tells us, “Act as free men…” as if to say, accept the reality that you are free and by faith act in accordance with that reality. We are not to say we are free and then act contrary to our Christian profession, which is not freedom at all but more of the same bondage to sin. Furthermore, it would make our liberty in Christ a means of doing evil. God’s free man is a willing slave of love to Christ’s will. The will of God is made perfectly clear by Peter, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…”
The fourth reason for the Christian to submit to human institutions is that such behavior finds favor with God. “Slaves, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor…” verses 18-19. The primary motive for everything we do is God’s pleasure; every other reason should be dead last. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1Corinthians 10:31
Submission is the most difficult when mistreatment is involved. “But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” verse 20. We never feel more wronged and hurt than when we know we did the right thing; it is then that we should be the most willing to suffer for it, because it is then that we most closely reflect Christ. We never reflect Christ more than when we suffer patiently and return good for evil; when we suffer in this way, we exemplify our supreme example, Christ. We know very little of this type of persecution in our county, how much more should we suffer well when we are misunderstood, overlooked, or mistreated by co-workers, friends, family, etc.
Only when we follow the example Christ set do we live for the Lord’s sake!