1 Peter 2: 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
God makes it very clear that rebelling does not further the work of His kingdom. When the armed crowd came to arrest him in Gethsemane, Jesus made it clear that he was not leading a rebellion and he rebuked Peter for drawing his sword. But if rebelling is not the reaction God wants for us in difficult circumstances, then what is? The answer is modelled out over and over in the New Testament and specifically by Jesus, and that answer is submission.
1 Peter is a letter written by the Apostle Peter to Christians who were scattered all around the Roman world at the time. Many of these Christians were facing intense persecution and Peter, as a leader of the New Testament church, was sending them much needed encouragement and direction. Beginning at 1 Peter 2:13, Peter tackles the topic of submission, dealing with submission to all types of authorities such as in government, in the workplace, in church and then even in marriage. What we read in these passages is relevant for us today. If we think we have been treated unjustly, there is a strong chance that our challenges pale in comparison to the trials of the saints who have trod before us.
We live in an independent and rebellious age, and it is critical for us as believers not to have our worldview formed by the world we live in because as Peter calls us in 1 Peter 1:1 and 1 Peter 2:11, we are “God’s elect, strangers in the world” and “aliens”.
Peter’s commentary on submission makes some important statements. Firstly, submission is duty to God (1 Peter 2:13). If we submit, we are submitting to God, and therefore if we rebel we are rebelling against God. Secondly, when we submit to God we are under his protection, and we are commended “for doing right” (v14). Thirdly, we are reminded that we are “free”, but we cannot use this freedom to justify sin (v16). Submission is not slavery. Paul said he was a “slave to Christ” and no one else. We don’t need to act like slaves, but God asks us to willfully submit to others. Willful submission is a choice and is not slavery.
You may be saying, but you have no idea of the injustices I have endured. You wouldn’t believe the politics I have endured in sports. Perhaps someone else has been unfairly chosen for a team instead of you. Perhaps you don’t get your fair share of playing time. Perhaps you are being insulted by coaches or teammates, and perhaps it is because you choose not to conform to the ways of the world, and you choose to hold righteous lines. Be encouraged because Peter reminds us that we “have been called for this purpose” (v21).
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2: 23
When you are facing injustices, don’t choose rebellion, choose instead to submit to authorities who God has put in place, and most importantly “entrust [yourself] to him who judges justly”. “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.” (1 Peter 2:15).