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. -1Peter 2:13-16 NIV
I have come to understand that submission to authority is not always a good thing. Sometimes human authority, when it is at odds with God's love and goodness, must be resisted. And resisted strongly. In this passage Paul instructs us to live as both free people and as slaves. As people who act in such a way as to silence foolish and ignorant people.
It can be confusing if one believes that despots and tyrants have God's seal of approval. Yet when we understand that the kingdom of God is spiritual in nature we are able to sort out the ways that we must live under human authority. Human governance is often not in line with divine rule. God's kingdom is all about love. Love is the reason we freely submit to human authority. And love is the reason that we resist it. When we freely love we show ourselves to be his slaves.
Help us to be ambassadors of your kingdom Lord. Teach us to love the way that you love.
... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.