Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
1 Peter 2:11-17 (NIV)
Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
This passage from 1st Peter helps us apply Jesus’ teaching to “let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify God”. As I explained last Sunday, Christians are like a “city on a hill”. This means we can’t be hidden. Outsiders are watching us, seeing how we live out our faith, and making conclusions, whether we like it or not. That is the situation God has placed us in. Because the world is watching, let us eagerly apply Peter’s words from 2:12, and “live such good lives … that (others) will glorify God”. The rest of the passage gives some examples of this. These include something that can be deeply unpopular and challenging for some Christians: honoring those who are over us in government, even the emperor. Remember, when Peter was writing this, the emperors were often persecuting Christians! When we are troubled by our political leaders, let us keep in mind Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44 about loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us.