Wednesday: Social Relationships

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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?

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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?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons