Ewald Schmidt 

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:13-17, NIV
Some verses in the Bible really touch a raw nerve! In some countries, it is difficult to obey the human authorities in the place where we live. What should we do when the authorities are corrupt and evil? We should remember that Peter lived in the Roman Empire, and experienced much persecution at its hands. But here he acknowledges the position that God has intended human authorities to take: these authorities are responsible for keeping law and order, by punishing the wrongdoing of its criminals and for those who do good, creating a space to thrive. The Bible is clear that human authorities are responsible for their actions before God.
We are part of an earthly, imperfect state. The state does not always have the same value system as the church that prays that God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. We, as believers, often do not have a big influence on how the state conducts its affairs. But what we should understand after reading today’s verse is that we are still responsible to God for the way we act where we live. We are in this world as God’s ambassadors, in the words of Jesus, the bearers of light in the darkness around us (Matthew 5:14).
We are the people that were set free by Christ. Our freedom in Christ is not a licence to do as we please, but to be servants, or slaves, of God. One way of being obedient to God’s commands is when we live a life of love. This world will be a much better place when we heed Peter’s call in I Peter2:17, by showing proper respect to everyone. We are called to truly love the family of believers in a practical way. We should love one another as Christ has loved us – see John 13:34. In this world, we live in a close but respectful relationship with God. To honour him, we strive to be good citizens, be the difference in a broken world.
Prayer: Lord, today’s verse is difficult to obey. I see so much going wrong in the country around me. Help me to be a part of the solution in the broken system of this world. Help me to treat all people with respect, and fill me with love for the family of believers. Amen.