The issue of how we Christians respond to unjust authority is of vital importance regarding our testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we’ve recently seen in Peter’s exhortations to slaves in 1 Pet. 2:18-20, believers must be more committed to our responsibilities before God, than our rights before men. Entrusting ourselves to God’s faithful care and eternal justice, we must endure unjust suffering for the sake of the Gospel. We must likewise resist the temptation to pour our energies into fighting to change unjust social structures, lest we inadvertently destroy our Gospel-witness in the process.
Citing NT scholar William Mitchell Ramsay, Pastor Steve made these observations in his helpful paper on the topic of slavery in 1st century Rome (please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a copy of his paper):
“Had the NT endeavored to overturn the socioeconomic structure of Rome, the Gospel of salvation would have been so obscured in the melee, one could wonder, in human terms, whether the Christian faith would have survived at all. Spreading true liberation from the tyrant of sin was and is the great aim of the NT and, regardless of the historian’s assessment, no Christian can deny this purpose was not worth abandoning to revolutionize Roman society” (p. 28.)
Beloved, God calls us to a living hope that eagerly awaits our heavenly inheritance in Christ (1 Pet. 1:3-5). We must avoid the danger of fixing our hope on the things of this world! In God’s design, it is the increasing evidence of this heavenly hope that becomes our greatest evangelistic tool, as Peter clearly implies in 1 Pet. 3:15. This is the true grace of God friends, stand firm in it! (1 Pet. 5:12)
Rejoicing in Christ,