A Life of Submission

1 Peter 2:11-17

Jerry A Collins




v          How does our identity impact our conduct as believers?

v          What are the requirements of our submission?

v          What are the reasons for our submitting?


We are continuously bombarded with the message to exert our rites, take charge of our lives, you owe this to yourself. The idea of submission to anyone, especially God is completely out of step. Of course, our lives as believers must be conducted according to God’s desires, commands, and expectations. When the Bible teaches us about our conduct in the world and in our relationships as His children, he uses the concept of submission to characterize that. Our conduct is not self-indulgent nor is it to be sinfully gratifying—it is to be submissive. This kind of conduct, we learn from Peter, makes a powerful impact both in our own lives and even within the lives of those who are unbelievers. Though not a popular topic today, Peter applies it to our lives as followers of Jesus Christ living out our lives every single day to the glory of God.


We are aliens and strangers 11a The idea is that we ‘live in a place that is not our home’. Writer of Hebrews describes all of the OT saints as aliens and strangers 11:13-16. So our identity becomes the basis of our conduct. Since our citizenship is in heaven, we must not be at home here. What does this mean in a practical sense? (1) We must constantly remind ourselves that eternity must be our focus. This focus can be lost in the day to day activity, responsibilities and demands of daily life. Don’t do that. (2) We should think with an open-fisted perspective. Quit clutching your possessions, wealth, schedules, expectations, close to your chest. Instead, let your hands and hearts hold these openly and extend them always to heaven. God has given His good gifts to you to enjoy not to attach yourself too. (3) Get your attention off of yourself, your petty problems, your selfish ambition, you small mindedness and gaze upward and outward. There is a wide world all around us and we have been given opportunity to leave a mark for Jesus Christ as we are passing thru. Don’t miss this by being self-focused, self-pity, or self-occupied. (4) Be outrageous in your love and generous with your gifts. Don’t hold anything back. Make every day a possibility to boldly serve Christ. Give magnanimously to your neighbor.

Hold self back from sinful desires 11b while living as strangers and aliens we resist the sinful pull of fleshly desires warring within us. Those cravings, lusts and appetites that attract us toward sin and distract us from godly living. Just because we are believers does not exempt us from temptation. To entertain such cravings may appear attractive and harmless but will inflict our soul and make us spiritually weak and ineffective.

Maintain distinctive witness 12 Abstaining from indulging our flesh is not only for our spiritual well-being but also as a powerful witness of convicting the world of it’ sin. Some assumptions: (1) We will not be physically separated from unbelievers but will live among them. Our love for God and one another is open to public scrutiny. (2) Our daily conduct should set us apart from the world. This is to be conduct that is both honorable and excellent. The idea is to be winsome and attractive. There is a quality and distinction that is appealing and desired. (3) Our conduct is no guarantee we will be praised for it. We will still be unjustly accused and attacked but our lifestyle will speak for itself. (4) God can use our lifestyle to win others to Christ. Before these slanderous accusations, our good deeds observed by others will be basis of opening their spiritually blind eyes in your office, your home, neighborhood, hallways and convert them to Christ who will glorify God at that time for your witness (Woody Turtle, Willie Schoen and his family).


Living here as strangers requires not only abstaining from sinful impulses but also submission to governing authority. Submission is the theme of the rest of this section vs 13, 18 3:1 & 5.

We submit to honor God 13 Our submission to govt authority is motivated by knowledge that God has ordained these authorities even though men have come up with the way they are made or organized. God is behind all governing authority in sense that He has established it as means of control. Recognizing this, we submit to it.

It’s purpose is to punish evildoers and commend the good 13b-14 God expects us to be subject even to human authorities who are neither believers nor morally upright.   That includes both higher and lower civil authorities (kings—Nero or governors—Pilate) sent by God to execute their authority—that is, punishment or praise. This does not say that we as believers can always expect praise for the good things we have done nor imply that we observe man-made laws even if they conflict with scripture. Daniel disobeyed the law of the land and Peter and John disobeyed the religious authority in Israel. Neither started a rebellion not instigated a riot even tho they refused to obey a law that violated God’s will. They were willing to accept the consequences of civil disobedience but not overthrow the govt. The only examples we have in the Bible of civil disobedience, are those where obedience to God is directly forbidden by a human command.

Submission exposes foolish accusations 15 When we do right—doing what is right in God’s eyes—we are doing the will of God. When we do that we lay the basis for exposing the false charges against us. So the stress is to silence the foolish slander by revealing the good you are really doing. A believers best defense against slanderous criticism is good behavior which governing authorities commend in their citizens. Such slander is irrational and this is God’s way of stopping it. God will use it to silence them.

We have freedom but not to cover up when we do wrong 16 Being citizens of heavenly kingdom not exempt us from obligation to the laws of the land. We are to live as free men—unmerited favor of God, freedom from guilt, ruling power of sin—but not from governing authority Blowing up abortion clinics is not a freedom we have. True freedom is to choose what it is God wants for us as His servant-slaves. So we never use our freedom to cover up evil as God defines that.

All are to be given honor 17 The arrangement is as follows: (1) Honor all men…love the brotherhood. All men are to be honored but the brotherhood is to be loved. There is a greater degree of intimacy and contact between believers. So we have a higher obligation to believers than to unbelievers. (2) Fear God…honor the king. The king receives honor as a man—even the head man but it is limited. But it is God we are to fear Mt 10:28 do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (What you fear is what will control you so even behind govt fear God)

1. Unconfessed and unrepented of sin in your life will destroy both you and your witness in the world for Christ.

2. God can use your righteous life to being conviction to someone who previously slandered you and your faith in Christ.

3. Pay to Ceasar what is His and to God what is His.