“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
In context, if I understand correctly, Peter tells us in verses 13-25:
- Obey the local, state, and federal government, and the leadership of any other institution you may belong to, attend, work for, or serve under.
- This is God’s will because it silences the historical objection to Christians’ assertion that Jesus is Lord. Based on the the Emperor of Rome’s assertion that he is Lord, non-Christians of the day felt to be a Christian was to be a treasonous lawbreaker. Obeying the secular law silences that argument and any similar modern criticisms. (Interestingly, the apostles did defy any civil regulation deliberately designed to hinder their god-given call to spread of the gospel.)
- Obey God as Lord also. We are free in Christ, but must not use our freedom from sin to sin.
- Respect everyone, believer or not, and love all Christians.
- Employees, respect and obey your employers even if your employers treat you unfairly.
- Do this because you only spiritually benefit and please God if you are punished unfairly or otherwise suffer unjustly.
- We are called to suffer for Christ because he suffered for us; i.e. being his disciple requires we take up the cross and follow him.
- Seek to follow also his example of not sinning or deceiving others, not returning verbal abuse with verbal abuse or threatening others, but trusting God to judge justly.
- It is possible for us to die to sin like this and become righteous because he bore our sins on the cross and suffered the penalty in his own body. By his wounds, we have been cured of our straying and have been returned to proper relationship with God, like sheep with our shepherd.
Lord, we thank you for your word. We thank you for freeing us from the bondage of sin and death and the lies of the evil one. Strengthen us in our resolve not to sin against you, give us quiet, gentle spirits that respect all people and honor civil authorities, our employers, etc. even when the unbelievers are not treating us fairly in return. Grant us also the strength and wisdom to resist the temptation to enable sinful, unjust behavior in Christian leaders, but hold them to account for blaspheming you by their actions. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.