Peter provides some challenging material to think through about honoring secular authority.
13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
18Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
On the surface, this seems reasonable. Generally speaking it seems right to respect and honor authority. Where this gets tricky is where we are told to honor authority even if they are unreasonable. It seems the main thrust is that you are more likely to bring honor to YHWH and to bring others to him by honoring authority. This is not to be taken to mean that ungodly authority can instruct you to rebel against the ways of YHWH and you just say you are honoring authority for even as you are subject to earthly authority, you are more so subject to the authority of the creator. Consider Daniel, and Shadrach, Meshac, and Abednego. Consider the disciples and Yeshua himself as they confronted authority in the Pharisees while preaching and teaching. There are boundaries and we are accountable first to our Creator.
However, we are warned not to let our freedom be a covering for evil, but to let our freedom lead us to be bondservants of the LORD, choosing willfully to serve him.
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