A lively debate ensued at last nights Bible study around 1Peter2:13-15..."For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters.[i] Fear God, and respect the king".
The burning question was , does this instruction to the civil government apply to all regimes whether friendly or hostile to the Christian believer? In the context of Peters time, the King in question would have been the Emperor Nero, an enemy of the church and persecutor of the very Christian communities that are addressed in this letter.So when in the face of a hostile regime does the believer say "enough" and flee the situation, or does he ,come what may stand firm and take whatever punishment the State deals out.Of course at all times the believer must side with Gods instruction on a matter even when it contradicts the Authority line, but should he then stay around to face the consequences of this action or run for the hills ?In Christian history we have evidence of both responses to persecution,some embracing it even to the point of martyrdom, and others fleeing from the trouble and living to see another day.
Our natural reaction to trouble is to avoid it at all cost,but there seems to be a blessing in patiently enduring trouble...a rare virtue in the times in which we live."21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered[k] for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.". Maybe these words help us to decide what our response should be..."20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you."
Much as it goes against our natural reaction, this surrendering attitude even in the face of evil is the example that Jesus Himself left us to follow..." 22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.[l] 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly."An impossible way to live ? Of course...apart from a supernatural infusion of Gods Holy Spirit to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ.Our mission is for perfection even as He is perfect... as we honestly express our inability to go the way of the Cross, still we strive to enter in by His grace ! Thank God He is our Shepherd and the Guardian of our souls(v25)