We’re diving deep into what God means when he talks about submission.
We began with I Peter 3:1 which tells wives to submit to their husbands—and often it’s left right there without further understanding of what God is communicating.
That’s why we’re looking back at the previous chapter to get an idea of what “in the same way” means. You can read Part 1 here if you want to get caught up.
Today, we’re going back to start in chapter 2 verse 17 where it says that submission means showing proper respect to others and loving those who believe and fear God.
This kind of surprised me.
I expected the passage to talk about everyone, not just other believers. But then I understood why we start with other believers.
Think about it.
If we can’t respect and love others who are part of the church (entire world church, not just your church) in which Jesus is teaching us to love, how will we than be in a position to show that same attitude to the rest of the world?
Often, the world looks at the church and doesn’t see any difference. Can we blame them for not wanting to be a part of that? If the Jesus they see in us is gossiping, backbiting, disrespectful, and unkind why would they want him?
Bet you never coupled the word “submission” with that, did you? Neither did I.
Verse 17 continues by saying that we should give honor to the king. What if the “king” or something in that authoritative role doesn’t seem to deserve honor? What if they act in ways that are wrong or dishonoring to themselves and others?
I believe what he’s saying is that we honor the position God has established. Back in verse 13, Peter makes it clear that God is the one who created and established authoritative roles. Whether that is a president, governor, law enforcement official, teacher, pastor, husband, or parent, those roles were all set up by God for our benefit.
People may not use their authority rightly or well, but we should still show honor and respect. Not only that, but every single person is wonderfully and fearfully created by God. Every one deserves our honor for that reason alone, regardless of how they behave. This is a great book that breaks that down.
In verse 18, Peter takes it a step further telling us to submit even when someone is harsh, not only to those who are good and considerate. Wow! I confess I’ve thought that a person I’m dealing with didn’t deserve respect so why would I submit?
But it takes the grace, love, patience, and forgiveness of Christ to continue to show honor and respect, and to submit even when someone is not nice. Remember, that Jesus chose when and how to speak when he was confronted. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. The key word there is “retaliate.” He entrusted himself to God, knowing that God was in control of the situation and would deal with the person. (vs. 21)
Also, worthy to consider is that sometimes our submissive, honoring action is to remove ourselves from a situation or speak loving truth to someone who is acting harshly. God will lead us in how to handle the situation if we ask him.
**(Please note that “harsh” isn’t necessarily the same as abusive and/or dangerous. God does not call us to put ourselves into harmful relationships or stay there if we’ve allowed ourselves to get into them.)
So, now we’ve seen what “in the same way” means.
Next time we’ll move on to Chapter 3 and look at what Peter says specifically to spouses.
Yes, spouses. Not only wives. 😉