13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
1 Peter 2:13 - 14
ESV - 13 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme. 14 Or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
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I would say that Peter is making the same point in the cited passage as Paul made in Romans 13:1-7. The only duty that Christians have that is higher than obedience to governing authorities is obedience to God (Acts 5:29), when earthly powers require an inescapable course of action that involves direct and personal denial, disobedience, or abjuration of belief in or allegiance to God. In such cases, Christians should also then be prepared (as the apostles were) to accept the temporal consequences of such an action, even to the point of death (which, for Christians, despite the severe suffering that may be involved, does not outweigh the eternal life and rewards that await them after their earthly existence is over if they remain faithful to God). Also, in the process, Christians should take care to avoid any conduct that might result in them being legitimately punished by those authorities for actual violations of law. (As Peter also said later in the same epistle (1 Peter 3:17), there is no credit from God for enduring a beating received as the penalty for having committed a genuine wrong.)
We submit to (obey) those in authority over us by "showing respect" and "giving honour" as explained by Peter in 1 Peter 2:17. The apostle Paul says the same thing in Romans 13:7. Whether it is our elected politicians or other bureaucratic leaders in government, we are to demonstrate respect and honour in all our words and actions. Why? Because all these authorities were put in place by God to be his servants. Whenever we are critical, judgmental, angry, and hateful towards our political and governmental leaders, in my view, we are sinning, because we are mocking God who installed these authorities on our behalf. We live in a culture filled with distrust, anger and hatred toward political leaders and government in general. Our political system fuels this behaviour through the combative approach of political parties, rather than cooperation for the common good. Jesus commanded us to love those who hate us and do good toward those who mistreat us. We obey this command when we "respect" and "honour" those in authority. Our culture tells us we have the constitutional right to freedom of speech, so we can say whatever we want about our political leaders and others in authority over us (ie. Health officials during COVID pandemic). But as Christians, our citizenship is in heaven and we are commanded to obey a higher authority. When, as Christians, we act counter-culturally to those around us, by demonstrating love through honour and respect of those in authority, our spiritual light shines brightly for the world to see, and our witness for Jesus Christ gives great glory to God.
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