by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4 November 8, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
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:
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 Rationale For Submission.
A. "For so is the will of God..."
1. This is a specific identification of "the will of God".
2. This identification is focused upon God's "desire", not His "intention".
a. The difference is in the vocabulary: "intent" is conveyed by the word Paul used in Romans9:19; "desire" is conveyed by the word he used in 1 Timothy 2:4. Peter chose the latter. This was common vocabulary and Peter was fully aware of what his choice would indicate.
b. God's "intentions" will happen; His "desires" are a lot like those of the rest of us: they will be met by those who wish to meet them. This means that a lot of actual occurances are "up in the air" because the commitments of "believers" vacillate for many reasons, the most fundamental being the lack of an actual "servant" mentality and the knee-jerk practice of "reserving" one's decision to act so that one's own interests can be served (an attitude totally contrary to that of the Servant).
c. Even Peter's "follow-up" in 2:16 is a tacit admission that the issue is up to those to whom he writes.
3. This identification is "loaded" with implication because the "will" (desire) is of "the God". It is a well known fact that the word "God" is the English equivalent of the Hebrew term used in Genesis1:1 and that term is over-weighted in terms of "power". For the "powerful" to submit His desires to the weak is a testament to His commitment to "submission" as a very fundamental practice. The point: the powerful One Who could never asks anyone to do what He is not willing to do, and never commands anyone to do anything that is not directly tied to His pure character. Most folks do not realize it, but this is the answer to that "bug-a-boo" that all men everywhere ask: "If God is so ... why is evil so prevalent?" The fact is, He is a "servant" and He willingly accepts the decisions of others for a season. The other fact is that His "servanthood" actually means that, at some point, His "service" to His creation is going to be to purge it of all of the ungodly so that the rest may live in joy undiminished. Until then, He accepts the decisions and actions of others in large measure (most of which really are evil).
B. "...that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."
1. The text actually reads a bit differently. The main verb (translated "that ye may put to silence") is an infinitive. That means we will be better served by translating in this manner: "... because thusly is the will of the God: by doing good to muzzle the ignorance of the foolish men." In other words, the "will of God" is to "muzzle" the ignorance. But, as we have already seen, that "ignorance" is most fundamentally wrapped up in the notion of "getting to exercise power" as a lesser "god". This is more a part of man's inherent attitudes than any other specific issue. All seem to think that God is a Power-Broker and they want a piece of that pie. NONE seem to realize that God is a Servant Who is willing for others to make choices and pursue agendas and no one wants a piece of that pie. This is the reason that Peter said that "submissive" behavior best reveals God and fulfills His desires.
2. According to Peter, all who think in terms of "having their say" are "fools". And, according to Peter, the only way they can be "silenced" is for believers to actually demonstrate a submissive spirit. But, there is this reality: Jesus demonstrated that submission all the way to the cross as a "silent lamb" and the vast majority of the "fools" called Him a fool for so doing ... and still do. Therefore, holding one's breath waiting for the silence to settle in will likely result in self-asphyxiation. In other words, Peter does not say "when" the silence will settle in; but Paul does (Romans 3:19): when they are brought into The Court and Judged Every Man According to His Deeds (Revelation 20:12-13). Thus, it sounds like Peter is asking his readers to "submit" until the Lord comes and to accept the fact that the "silence" is not going to settle in any time soon.