by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3 November 1, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
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 cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
1901 ASV Translation:
13 Be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether to the king, as supreme;
14 or unto governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil-doers and for praise to them that do well.
15 For so is the will of God, that by well-doing ye should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.
17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
I. Peter's Particular Application of His Instruction to "Have Your Conversation Honest Among the Gentiles" in the Area of the Competition of Wills.
B. "Every ordinance".
C. "On account of the Lord" ( dia plus the accusative indicates "because of" or "on account of", according to A.T. Robertson). This fits into the context precisely because of Peter's statement that we have been called to "show forth the praises of Him Who called [us] out of darkness". If it is the Lord's intention that we make Him manifest by our actions, being in submission "on His account" effectively translates into "submitting to accomplish His will". This means the more basic area of submission is not to kings and their emissaries, but to the Lord Himself. And this is basic "T"heology in that the Lord is a "Servant" Who regularly "submits" to the choices of others.
D. "Whether to a king as surpassing..."
1. The characterization of the "king" as "surpassing" means that there is a specific area where "kings" "surpass".
2. That the individual in view is a "king" means that Peter has what "kings" are known for in mind. Since the issue of our text is "the competition of wills", it does not seem difficult to conclude that "kings" are most noted for their imposition of their wills upon others. At the very root of the notion of "kings" is this enforcement concept. Then, a close second to this concept, is the corollary issue of whose "will" is being enforced. Paul addressed this in his similar instruction in Romans 13 where he declared that all "enforced will" ultimately traces back to God (13:1-2). In that text he goes so far as to say that anyone who resists this "ordained of God authority" will receive "damnation to themselves" (as the translators of the KJV render his words). This means two things: that God is the Final Surpassing King; and that His "servanthood" as a King has its boundaries in terms of how much evil He will tolerate and for how long.
E. "Or unto governors as unto them that are sent by him..."
1. This issue of "communicated authority" is extremely fundamental to the entire body of the Scriptures. With men, it is simply a necessity created by the inability of any one man to enforce his will beyond a very small circle. To enforce his will beyond that very limited circle, he simply must employ others who have reasons to be loyal to him. With God, of course, the issue is not "His ability". An omnipotent, omnipresent Person would have no lack of "ability" to enforce His will upon anyone anywhere at anytime. Therefore, when we ponder the reasons for "communicated authority" we are driven back into the essence of God in order to find His motives. It seems that the essential reason God delegates what He could easily do better and with greater impact Himself is that He desires to share His life with other persons and a most basic element of that sharing is the permission to take part in the exercise of authority and its consequent results.
2. Throughout the Bible, created persons are "exercisers of delegated authority". This is essential to the notion of "person". That the king has "governors that are sent by him" is simply an aspect of this inescapable reality.
F. "For the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."
1. This is the methodology of the "king": he has the ability to enforce his will because he has the carrots and sticks of motivation.
2. These are the actions that Sin has made necessary for order in the world.