Submission to Civil Authority (1 Peter 2:13-25)

Pastor Anthony Bacino, October 20, 2019
Part of the Preaching series, preached at a Sunday Morning service


I really appreciate all our civil servants. Firefighter they run to the fire when we all are running away. Our EMT do all they can do to saves lives. Our law enforcement community put their lives in danger to help others and some of them pay the ultimate sacrifice. On May 19, 2019 the FBI reported statistics that 106 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2018. Of these, 55 officers died as a result of criminal acts, and 51 officers died in accidents. Folks, that is 106 too many. We have seen a rise in contempt and disrespect for the men and women in blue. I read recently that such disdain for the police isn’t just confined to rowdy crowds in bad neighborhoods that there’s an institutional element to it.

“Progressive” leaders in cities across the country have been contributing to a culture of disrespect for police for some time now, and this is dangerous! The church needs to do it parts and shows our police officers and civil servant that we care for and pray for them.
The church should lead the way and be a help in any way we can. We need to elevate pray and support for their families. This is unlike any other profession. I know a little about it my late cousin Joey Bacino was a PA State Trooper. We were all proud of him but I can remember my aunt wishing he would quit. The only bad memory I have is when Vito and I got a little rowdy at Pops’ house. Joey would said to my dad, “hey Uncle Jimmy should I cuff em’. I was proud of my cousin and his integrity.

So you can understand why I can get frustrated by the constant negative press hurled at the men and women in blue. Most police officers work hard to keep you and yours safe…Their stories, their peculiar situations have not been accurately told. I think we need to do more to understand and relate instead of being so very judgmental. I recently read a police officer story you won’t believe. I will read it as foretold by him.

On a Sunday afternoon I was dispatched to a residential area for a report of a disturbance in which someone was beating the windows out of a vehicle. As I arrived I saw what looked like Ronald McDonald slinging a Louisville slugger on a vehicle in this driveway. I mean red hair, blue nose, makeup and size 42 shoes. When “Ronald” saw my unit he dropped the bat and began to run. I got out of my unit and looked around like it was a joke, thinking I was being punked. I soon realized by the looks from the neighbors that it wasn’t a joke and advised dispatch that the suspect was running south as I reluctantly started jogging. I repeatedly ignored the dispatcher who wanted a description of the suspect.

As I turned the corner I observed a Ford Fiesta parked in a driveway with red and yellow size 42 shoes hanging out of the side. After several requests for him to come out, I finally had to drag him out by his shoes and hook him up. As I walked back to my unit with “Ronald in cuffs I saw several children on bicycles on the sidewalk. As I walked passed the kids all of them gave me a thumbs down and began to Boo! You see even doing their job they can’t get a break. We can help by being good citizens and being supportive. God desire this of us.

So as Christians we are to be model citizens and give the men and women of Law enforcement a break, give them your respect. Pray for our first responders. It is not only our civic duty it is our Christian duty. Government was ordained of God to subdue evil. The men and women of Law enforcement are the ministers of God to thee for good. Our Christianity must find its way into every aspect of living. One of life crucial areas where Christianity is lived out is in relation to civil government, to those in authority over us.
The Apostle Paul on many occasions instructed believers to submit to the authorities, to honor the ruler, to obey the governor, to respond to those who are in authority over us. The Apostle Peter also gave exhortation on civil relationships.

I. Our role as Christian Citizens (2:13-17)

1. Being a Christian should affect every area of our lives ¬our attitudes, words, actions, and even citizenship. God established three institutions: the home, the church, and human government. All are divine institutions created for the care and protection of the human race. This does not mean that God approves of all forms of government, but it does mean that He is behind all governmental authority that is designed for the collective good of its citizens. If God is the originator of government, and if God is all-powerful, it only makes sense that government derives its authority from God. For there is no power but of Gods the powers that be are ordained of God (13: l)

2. According to I Peter 2:13-17 this is the will of God that we submit to civil law and honor governmental leaders. This word submit (hü-po-tä’s-sō ) was a Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden. The government is not always right but even Jesus submitted to civil authority.

3. Peter qualifies the extent of this submission by saying to “every ordinance of man,” meaning “every human institution.” The Greek word translated ordinance refers to administration. When we resist the gov¬ernment we are resisting the administration of God’s system of law and order. Paul confirms this truth in Roman 13:3&4.

Peter say unto “governor” vv. 14 the Greek word implies “a leader of any kind, a guide, ruler, prefect, president, chief, general, commander, sovereign”.
He is dealing with government, but Peter means every institution that God has created and placed over man. There are other institutions. And as long as we’re in the world even though there’s a sense in which we live at another level, we live in the heavenlies, we must live submissive to every human institution.

II. We are to be model citizens.
1. We are not discredited Christ for our trouble making. Remember that during the time that Peter is writing, Nero is the Emperor in Rome…probably one of the most unfit rulers ever. Our general attitude and pattern of behavior toward the government should be submission. This includes toward law enforcement, toward revenue agencies, toward local, state, and federal governing bodies and officials. Do you respect governmental authorities, even when you disagree with their policies? Do you pay your taxes? So what about when rulers are ungodly, immoral tyrants? Is there a time to do so…yes that is another sermon. (Francis Schaeffer book)

2. In verse #15 we see that our freedom is not an excuse to do evil. You are free to live as God’s slaves. Submission to government is an act of submission to God. If the government says that we cannot “pray” in schools, we submit, and pray at home. Submission never implies apathy… The government will fail us; we should expect that. We should support our leadership in prayer, whether we agree with them politically or not. We fight on a greater spiritual level. We must realize who is really in control regardless.

3. In verse vv15 we see again the high calling of the church “live godly lives” so that there is nothing that discredits Christ or us. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. This is deeply situated in Peter’s heart as he writes this epistle. He is calling the church to virtue. Peter is over and over hitting this same theme. You’re in a persecuted environment, they were scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Capadocia and Asia. They were living in a hostile world. And Peter says if you want to win that world, it isn’t by what you say it’s by a holy virtuous life.

4. As Christians we must trust in a sovereign God that reigns supreme even over ungodly men. As Christians, our main goal in life is to please God. This is the main reason why we obey government, because we want to obey Him, bring honor to Him, and please Him. God is honored when Christians are viewed as law abiding, good and tax paying people.

5. We are also to give honour in vv.17 this means that we are to show respect and honor to all who hold public office. This includes School and Church… Christians are to be model citizens; Government was ordained of God to subdue evil. There is not a government on earth that does not punish the murderer, the rapist, and the thief. Even the governments with little or no civil liberties restrain evil.


According to the Bible, God designed us to be men and women of exemplary character. Therefore, we are to submit to authority – those that are ordained by God. We too are to follow a code of ethics according to scripture that unbelievers do not. Gospel

(John 15:13) “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. Police officers on occasion have done just that. God loves you and He loved you long before you were ever born. God loves you! He has done more for you than anyone else” — gospel


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1 Peter 2:13-25

13Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. (KJV)

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