Wednesday: Social Relationships

Read Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Corinthians 7:12-16; and Galatians 3:27-28. How does what Paul says compare to what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:11-3:7?

Study Group

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Paul addresses some of the issues raised in 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 in several places. What he says is remarkably consistent with what is found in 1 Peter. For example, like Peter, Paul urges his readers to be subject to the “governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1, NKJV). Rulers are appointed by God and are a terror to evil works, not good (Rom. 13:3). Thus, a Christian should, then, “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor” (Rom. 13:7, NKJV).

Paul also emphasizes that women who are married to non-believing husbands should live exemplary lives, and as a result their husbands may join the church (1 Cor. 7:12-16). Paul’s model of the Christian marriage is also one of mutuality. Husbands should love their wives as Christ has loved the church (Eph. 5:25). Furthermore, he suggests that slaves should obey their earthly masters as they would obey Christ (Eph. 6:5).

Paul, then, was willing to work within legally mandated cultural boundaries. He understood what could be changed about his culture and what could not. Yet, he also saw something within Christianity that would end up transforming the way society thinks about people. Just as Jesus didn’t seek to bring about any kind of political revolution in order to change the social order, neither did Peter or Paul. Change could come, instead, by the leavening influence of godly people in their society.

Read Galatians 3:27-29. Though clearly it is a theological statement, what powerful social implications might this text have regarding how Christians are to relate to one another because of what Jesus has done for them?



Wednesday: Social Relationships — 16 Comments

  1. Thanks for the lesson but I have a question about the statement "Leaders are chosen by God". We have seen leaders that have done things that are not in any way related to God, some have assumed positions by killing, rigging elections, and all of these ungodly ways, while others have done despicable things with their authority. So can we just continue looking, while these leaders, especially in Africa, are denying us almost all our rights, not just as citizens but also as human beings because they were chosen by God?

    • Ssevvume Solomon,
      That is indeed a tough one. In human rationale, this does not make sense. It seems hopeless even, for I see this where I come from as well.
      But then once again it is the Word of God and His promises that give me courage in such times.
      "And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
      'All' things include also the negativity we face in life, including a corrupt and oppressive regime even.
      Consider the story of Joseph, who suffered so much and endured betrayal and was under unjust and oppressive authority, first under his brothers, and then under Potipher and his wife. Wherever he found himself in, he held onto his faith and continued to shine the light of God. The result, he ended up being elevated to a position of authority himself, and helped save many nations of people, including his own family. In the bigger picture we see how all these ultimately played into God's rescue plan for all of humanity - the plan of salvation.
      So the only thing we can tell each other is to just "Hang in there". For soon we shall be saved to live with Him for all eternity.

    • SSevvume Solomon,

      This is a tough position. Paul and Peter exhort us to obey the government and submit to their rules because generally speaking though there are some governments that we disagree with they generally speaking aim to set up a peaceful society for the benefit of everyone under their rule. However this isn't always the case and must obey God rather than man in all circumstances. We can never follow a government to disobey a direct command of God!

      • God established king and he can remove king. The Romans can be harsh and brutal in their ways of making people obey the law but they are effective in making things in proper order, they also improved ways of travel by constructing roads and bridges etc. King Henry VIII seems to be despotic but through him England eventually became a Protestant nation, we are just a small fabric in a tapestry and being on it, we cannot see the grand design but God is the master he allowed things to happen he direct he protect and he rule.

  2. Paul and Peter indeed agree upon one point: that it's the duty and obligation of a Christian to pay taxes, for in doing so, it shows obedience to the authority and also to God. But, how does a Christian respond to the following issues:
    1. Over taxation
    2.Taxation which doesn't match the economic scale of a Christian
    3.Forced taxation

    • Regardless of whatever injustice, pay the taxes anyway. Here is our example: Matt 22:15-22. Just keep your eyes on Jesus reflecting his character ...and think on heaven too. Don't let yourself be distracted by the injustice on this earth which will be increasing more and more before Jesus comes. ...By the way, there will NO taxes in heaven 😊

  3. We are living in the 21st century characterised by societal injustices. Key among them are these,and how should a Christian respond to them:
    1. Women's rights
    2. Unions demanding for the rights of their employees
    3. Industrial actions

    • ...Again, did Jesus got involved as an activist against the injustices from the Roman government? ...and the injustices from the Jewish government? ....Well, I take my words back, yes, Jesus was an activist; He was active reflecting His Father, as we should be activist on the activity of reflecting Jesus character

  4. I would suggest we take on the character of Christ. Love one another, Faith, Hope, forgiving, long suffering, grace, kind, thoughtful, full of goodness, slow to anger, let God judge, 2 tenths correction, 8 tenths encouragement. Foster a uplifting spirit. Live a Christian life. Yes, Paul and Peter have the same message, they served the same Master. Rulers seek to make rules for good not evil, but when it is the other way around, follow Gods authority, not man's. Yes easier said than done.

  5. Peter recommends for us to obey the goverment law. By following their law dilligently, it proves to them that we are a different type of people. The government will see that our conduct is admirable. This inspirational, admirable conduct comes from our Loving God.

    Anyones who follows God's commandments should not have any problems with the land of Law. God gives governments and authorizations to deligating laws. The Holy Spirit will guide us to do what is right We all depend on Him.

    Galatians 5:16 (TLB)---I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit's instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won't always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.

    Some laws are not agreeable, we need to debate the government in writing or protest for these disagreeable laws. Jesus will instruct us, as always.

    It is not all social order that is corrupted. Yes, Jesus wants us to stay away from all part of social orders that will cause misconduct. But the Lord wants us to be around them, not associate. He tells us to preach the Gospel to them and bring the misconduct people to Him.

    We even have some misconduct members in our churches also. And God wants us to stay away from them too. But we can be around them, also not associate with them. All we can do, is pray for them, hopefuly one day they give their hearts to Jesus for real. The Holy Spirit is our guidance for this situation that I just wrote/typed.

  6. Great lesson. However I'm somewhat disturbed by the texts in Peter in regards to Submission to Govenemt. As a member of a minority group we've experienced the cruelty of white supremacy in and out of our church. As it seems this lesson gives fuel to the argument that first God appointed racist leaders to exact evil on minortites and that somehow we should be submissive . Text like these were used to justify the horrors of slavery and today the privilege that whites experience in this country as well as the world. We can't ignor the elephant in the room and figure it goes away with mere texts and well wishes.

    • Dearest, the very same disciples suffered racial injustices systems that favored Roman Citizens, It is indeed God himself who put Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh kings whose atrocious reign suffered the Children of God. But did they stop praying for deliverance, Daniel prayed and God freed them, it wasn't through protest and insurrection but by prayer. Take it to the Lord in prayer in patience. God help us to see that big picture behind this comfusion.

  7. I have question on the matter of social justice.
    Replying to an earlier comment above, I mentioned the story of Joseph as an example of someone who clearly submitted to authority in spite of his circumstances.
    On the other end of the spectrum, let's consider Elijah. He clearly did not submit to the authority of his day, but he did what was right by God.
    My question is where do you draw the line between submitting to earthly authority, and standing up for your right — for justice?
    Is it wrong to protest what is deemed as injustice?

    • I believe the difference between Joseph and Elijah is only superficial. They both submitted themselves to God's direction. In Elijah's case, God commanded him to confront the king, at the risk of his life. If God commands you or me, we need to obey.

      Note, however, how, after the great miracle on Mt Carmel, Elijah acted the part of a servant to King Ahab, running in front of the chariot to ensure that the king traveled safely down the presumably treacherous (very wet!) mountain road. Elijah did not personally defy authority or the government, ever. Neither did Elijah demonstrate against an unjust government. His focus was solely on faithfulness to God.

  8. We must be aware that this is among the issue n trick that will b used to implement sunday law. We shouldn't wait for anything better either. Our focus should b how we can draw more pple to christ, and as the lesson teaches that neither jesus, not paul or peter changed any political order, same to us we can't too. Our calling now is to spread the gospel in all ways possible.Lets not lose focus but more get prepared for the second coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.

  9. The lesson gets deeper again.How do we really make governments account considering that present day governments are supposed to be constitution guided even dictatorships. In my country corrupt government officials are looting state coffers. They live opulent life styles no medicine in hospitals and the average man lives in miserable poverty. Should Christians just preach that governments are installed by God and just be indifferent and never call for government accountability?What about Christ saying his kingdom is not if this world?Is this not a case if Peter and Paul not wanting to disturb the status quo and fight many fronts?I would agree that the teaching was to encourage Christians to pick the most pressing battle Of Peter had attacked governmentvexcesses and slavery it was going to result in banning of Christianity,I see the teaching encouraging us to work with the end in mind


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