What was Peter Saying?

1 Peter 2

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

1’m reading that as: not only do we sin if we break any of His Commandments, we sin against Jesus if we break the laws of man in our own country.

Jesus submitted Himself to Caiaphas and also unto Pilate for their judgement, for such was the will of His Father he do so.

Do we do likewise, following in His example?

Or do we happily break such laws as we do not agree with because of our own pride?



  1. I have used illegal drugs, the last time about 30 years ago, after waking up in a hotel room with my wallet, and money gone, and no idea how I got there.

    I received one ticket for speeding, but when I was driving on the highways on my daily commute, I would routinely drive about 20-30 miles over the speed limit, when not caught in a traffic jam. I drive at the speed limit now that I am retired.

    Both of these crimes I would say are products of pride.

    I can’t think of any other laws that I have broken.

    If there was a law that I felt went against my own moral judgement I would probably break it. I can’t think of a good example.


  2. Ed – the closest i have come to using illegal drugs is trying a Bong and a spliff once or twice in my 20’s – i found the experience sufficiently disappointing to never wish to try them again. Alcohol ( in terms of getting out of my skull) does nothing for me either.

    Like you i have often exceeded the speed limit when i thought i would not get ‘caught’ ( i used to own a fast sports car and lost my licence for 6 months – again in my 20’s)

    i have frequently ‘broken the law’ concerning parking my vehicle in the city, where i used to work..

    These days i do my best to follow all relevant laws of man.

    I think Jesus led by example and followed His Father’s Law over that of man, but also taught to ‘render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.’

    i don’t think we do well if we moralise and put our own self-justification (Job) above that of others – and definitely not when we do so over His.

    i think Peter is exhorting True Followers of Christ to not ignore man’s laws but to subject ourselves to such laws are as in place wherever we find ourselves, providing in doing so we do not break His laws in our heart.


  3. I think we should follow the laws of our country, and if we don’t we should take responsibilty for the consequences. We should certainly pay our taxes, stick to the speed limit (mostly), obey the rules of the road (I try to… 😉

    Really we should be exemplary citizens, but if we aren’t (we’re just human after all) we should bear the consequences.


  4. I agree with the tenets that you have set forth. We are supposed to be law abiding citizens in as much as the law doesn’t impose itself above God’s will.

    As for the speeding thing… here is a question that will perplex you. Some of our cities in America have a MINIMUM speed limit… however, there are weather conditions that would make it unsafe to approach that limit without putting others lives at stake. Apply that to the MAXIMUM speed limit. If you are in a city where the max is 65 but everybody else is doing 80… is it safer to drive with the rest of the people or impede traffic by following the posted limit?

    I guess what I am getting at here is that the letter of the law can at times be superseded by the spirit of the law.


  5. Tony – thank you for your comment 🙂

    you have just reminded me of a potential for my government to make massive amounts of money in revenue (or cause a revolution)…

    Here in WA the state has a ‘technical’ minimum speed limit that is 20 kmh (about 12mph) BELOW the signed limit. You are able to be fined for not ‘keeping up’ to a reasonable speed as set by the state’s road authority. The revenue raising opportunity comes along twice a day on our freeways when at peak hour every car on the road is doing far less than the ‘legal’ minimum. SOme cars at some times are even parked on the freeway which is also illegal.

    i think the ‘out’ for this and also for the situation you mention with weather conditions, is the proviso that all driving should be compatible with prevaling road condition.

    Yo don’t do the signed maximum when there is a heavy fog for example. Neither can you exceed the limit because it is a great day and you can see for miles.

    As to your ‘perplexing’ idea – i am not perplexed in the least – merely because other (even all other) drivers are breaking the law does not give me the right to – i’d be sticking to 65 RELIGIOUSLY in that case and no policeman could stop me.

    i may be in a dangerous situation but it is not me causing the danger. If the legal authority has determined what is considered a ‘safe’ driving limit for a road then exceeding that limit is putting you and everyone else in danger, not the guy doing the limit. Going along with them merely alters the danger level it does not eliminate it – i’d feel safer with the law on MY side.

    i do agree with your last point – letter and spirit of Law is often at odds (as Jesus was able to show the scribes) . however at far greater odds are our own limited understandings of the letter (and point) of the law.



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