by Stephen F. Olford
Text: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake.…for this is the will of God" (1 Pet. 2:13, 15, nkjv).
Thought: There are solemn responsibilities that devolve upon citizens of every nation. The Apostle Peter, in speaking here of the role of a Christian citizen, enunciates principles that include and transcend all forms of human government.
1. The Biblical Conception of a Christian Citizen-"As sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles" (vv. 11,12). Every child of God has dual citizenship. His name is recorded in heaven; yet he is a recognized citizen of the country in which he chooses to reside. Therefore, his responsibility is to translate the will of God on earth, even as it is in heaven. His duty is to deprecate all known wrong and to advocate all that is good.
2. The Personal Submission of a Christian Citizen-"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake….for this is the will of God" (vv. 13, 15). Christian citizens should live lives of discipline and submission. Verse 17 tells us that we are to "honor all people"; i.e., to regard them as intrinsically sacred and precious to God. We are to "honor the king" by submitting to the leadership of any country. We are to "love the brotherhood"-the community of saints-and to "fear God." Only as God is reverenced and feared can true submission to all other ordinances become possible.
3. The Spiritual Relation of a Christian Citizen-"Christ…[left] us an example, that [we] should follow His steps" (v. 21). The standards of Christian citizenship are high, but the enablement for meeting these lofty demands can be realized only through a vital relationship to Jesus Christ as Sinbearer, Savior, and Shepherd. Let us rise to serve our generation by the will of God, remembering that "every soul [is] subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" (Rom. 13:1).
Render unto Caesar the things that are man's,
And offer unto God the things He demands.
So the Savior taught us, when He spoke on earth,
Only by obeying do we learn life's worth.