Wednesday: Order in Society and in the Church

Read the following passages. What does Peter say in these texts about the importance of both government and church leadership, and how Christians should respond to both? How should his words be applied to our situations today, regardless of where we live?

1 Pet. 2:11-21

1 Pet. 5:1-5

Order in Society and the Church

Image © Michael Agliob

Peter lived at a time when Christians occasionally were persecuted by government and by religious authorities. This makes all the more significant what he and Paul have to say about the proper role of government authorities(1 Pet. 2:13-17, Rom. 13:1-7). For both Peter and Paul, government authorities have been put in place by God Himself to act as a check against those who would do evil. Of course, there are times that ruling powers can be the problem. Christians faced this in Peter’s time, and it would only get worse for many years.

But, generally, the idea is that good government would preserve law and order and safety. Even today there are examples in which law and order have broken down, and one can see the desperate need for reasonable government. It is true; good government is one of the blessings of God that He has given to humanity.

Peter would no doubt share Paul’s conviction that good church governance is important, too. Paul insists, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40), in church worship services. Peter likewise asks the church leaders to “tend the flock of God that is in your charge” (1 Pet. 5:2, NRSV). They are to do so with humility and care. Local churches need to be led well. Good leaders provide vision and coherence, and enable others to exercise their spiritual gifts for the glory of God.

First Peter 5:5 says that you should clothe yourself with humility toward one another. How can we learn to do that? What can you do, yourself, to apply this in your own interaction with others?


Wednesday: Order in Society and in the Church — 8 Comments

  1. To be clothed with Christ's Righteousness and have His Mind in us will make us automatically humble toward others. We can have this by inviting the Spirit of Christ to motivate us with His Love in every situation that arises in our lives.

    This will make us not want to be controling when we are in leadership responsibilities and causes us to accept good sound leadership to help coordinate us in whatever endeavor we are involved in. It will not cause us to accept wrong direction from leaders than would lead us astray from Godly principles.

  2. Peter's theology exhorts us to live peacefully,learn to coexist and know how to relate with the existing authorities both religious and political leadership alike. Now, what affects the physical well being of a person in the society equally affects the spiritual, and in a case where the existing political authority practises overtaxation, makes the cost of living high, poor health policy, corruption and other injustices. At this level, I feel, these factors will have a gross impact on the spiritual aspect of living, so,in this situation, should Christians still keep on submitting? Where's the degree and true test of submission? Does a Christian have a right? Who gives this right?

    • Simeon, we have God given rights. In the U.S. we call them "inalienable rights." Notice Jesus, however, when His rights were removed from Him that He did not fight to protect His rights. The response of true Love to protecting our "rights" is not the same as is selfishness as a motivation.

      In The Kingdom of God, when someone slaps us on the cheek, we turn the other cheek rather that hit back with equal or greater force. Love solves problems where selfishness produces problems.

      Godly Love cannot be manufactured by us naturally. It has to be received as a gift from God. The Holy Spirit is always available with Love to motivate us, but we must choose to allow Him in with every issue in order to keep from stumbling over our own selfish motivation.

      Love, as our motivation, will cause us to recognize the rights of others as well as our own and cause us to respect and preserve their rights in our dealings with them.

    • Hi Simeon - I get enraged sometimes when I see the decisions of elected officials that clearly don't take into consideration the quality of life for everybody such as those that you mentioned. I think Peter & Paul are telling us that as far as possible we're to still support our government in these situations. I'm not an activist but I don't think it's contrary to God's word to address Congress or local politicians and other leaders for change in laws and services that help those who are disenfranchised. And as Don is saying, we check our motivation for doing so. Is it out of love? If so, continue to pray for guidance and humility while seeking justice.

  3. As long as we still in Christ we should follow our master's command. Jesus said whatever belong to Ceasar it should be given to him, and if God, we have to give honor to Him even more than anything.
    Wilson Jacobus , Manado, Indonesia

    • The answer to that question depends on your definition of politics. There are some political situations that we should avoid altogether but there are issues in society where it is important that our voice is heard. That does not mean that we need to seek the power of political position or play politics, but our community should be important enough to us for us to enter into discussion on the issues that affect us all.

      For example, I have a knowledge about the environment and it is important that knowledge be shared with those who make the decisions about development and resource use. Typically those decisions are made by politicians and it is important that I express my concerns about environmental management to them. After all the flora and fauna do not have a voice of their own and someone must speak for them. I have no great desire to be a politician, but I believe it is important to enter into discussions with them so that they can make informed decisions. To remain silent is a greater evil.


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