What to Do When You Face Wicked Authorities
1 Peter 2:11 – 3:4
As we continue exploring the truths of kingdom authority, no day or age needs it more than ours. What if we face wicked authorities? Must we obey them? What does God say?
The early church was undergoing terrible persecution. In the face of tyranny, the Apostle Peter gave followers of Christ guidelines for living under authority.
Anyone following Jesus Christ will go against the tide. God has given us an additional weapon, but many of us don’t like to practice it.
The Principle of Submission
Authority and submission are two sides of the same coin.
Submission is a person voluntarily placing himself under another person—both being of equal value—that God may be glorified. It’s simply getting under God’s established authority, not for that authority’s sake, but for the sake of God Himself, who established it. You’re submitting to Almighty God. When you do, God begins to invest kingdom authority in you.
Living Before the World—1 Peter 2:11-12
By the astounding quality of submission, you silence the ignorant and foolish who oppose God’s people.
Submission to Government—1 Peter 2:13-17
Kingdom authority is not for rebels. God cannot give us the release of the Spirit until we know the restraint of the Spirit. We’re to submit to:
those over us at work
one another at home
1 Peter 2:17 (“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king”) profoundly speaks to every aspect of our life: social, church, spiritual, political.
Submission to Masters—1 Peter 2:18-21
Servants then were slaves, treated as property. You’re not a slave in that sense, but you may work for what you call “a slave driver,” an ungodly boss. There’s no better place to demonstrate the power of the Gospel than if you have an unfair, ungodly boss.
Submission to Husbands—1 Peter 3:1
Just as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal, so are men and women. A woman is not inferior to her husband. It’s totally contrary to the wisdom of the world to be submissive to an ungodly, unworthy husband, but the Bible teaches that a home cannot function without a head.
When one equal places himself or herself voluntarily under another equal, God is glorified. Galatians 3:28 says we are all one in Christ—that’s settled. But God teaches authority. She’s not to lecture him or leave him, but to love him.
But what if he’s abusive? We’re coming to that.
Authority flows out of Submission
When you have the spirit of rebellion, you’re like Satan, the original rebel. When you submit to authority, you’re like the Lord Jesus, who humbled Himself. (See Philippians 2:6-9.)
Jesus has incredible authority because of this principle. Being submissive does not demean you, it exalts you. It makes you like the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Problems of Submission
Godless Government—Romans 13:1-3
The Holy Spirit had Paul write this because authority is necessary. There can be no civilization without government.
How do we live out this principle of submission in a crude, impure, profane age, under ungodly government? What if we’re asked to do something morally or biblically wrong?
All Human Authority is Limited—Acts 5:28-29
Suppose government passes a law forcing you to do something contrary to God’s Word. Your ultimate loyalty belongs to God. Never give Caesar what belongs to God. Peter said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
We will be civil but not silent if the government:
authorizes killing babies
distributes condoms to children in school and teaches illicit sex
tells a freeborn citizen he cannot pray vocally anywhere, anytime
Government’s purpose is to protect its citizens and restrain evil but never to restrain the Church. We must obey God.
Godless Boss—Romans 12:18
We’re to live in peace with everyone, but this verse says, “if it’s possible.” Sometimes it’s impossible because we can’t control what other people do. If anyone insists we do something antithetical to the Word of God, we obey God rather than men.
Godless Spouse—Romans 12:18
If a husband is abusing his wife, I would get her out of that situation. Yes, she’s to have a submissive spirit, but the higher law takes precedence.
The Price of Submission—1 Peter 2:21-25
Jesus’ suffering was undeserved. He took our sins upon Himself so we could be saved.
He left us an example that we “should follow His steps.” There’s a cost to discipleship, but the rewards are incomparable.
The spirit of these early Christians turned the world upside down. God gave them Kingdom Authority, and they learned the strength of submission. Submission doesn’t embolden tyranny; it destroys it. They overcame evil through submission.