Wednesday: Order in Society and in the Church

Read the following passages. What does Peter say in these texts about the importance of both government and church leadership, and how Christians should respond to both? How should his words be applied to our situations today, regardless of where we live?

1 Pet. 2:11-21

1 Pet. 5:1-5

Order in Society and the Church

Image © Michael Agliob

Peter lived at a time when Christians occasionally were persecuted by government and by religious authorities. This makes all the more significant what he and Paul have to say about the proper role of government authorities(1 Pet. 2:13-17, Rom. 13:1-7). For both Peter and Paul, government authorities have been put in place by God Himself to act as a check against those who would do evil. Of course, there are times that ruling powers can be the problem. Christians faced this in Peter’s time, and it would only get worse for many years.

But, generally, the idea is that good government would preserve law and order and safety. Even today there are examples in which law and order have broken down, and one can see the desperate need for reasonable government. It is true; good government is one of the blessings of God that He has given to humanity.

Peter would no doubt share Paul’s conviction that good church governance is important, too. Paul insists, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40), in church worship services. Peter likewise asks the church leaders to “tend the flock of God that is in your charge” (1 Pet. 5:2, NRSV). They are to do so with humility and care. Local churches need to be led well. Good leaders provide vision and coherence, and enable others to exercise their spiritual gifts for the glory of God.

First Peter 5:5 says that you should clothe yourself with humility toward one another. How can we learn to do that? What can you do, yourself, to apply this in your own interaction with others?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons