Living in an Unsympathetic World
We don’t often talk about our role as Christians as good citizens of the world. We do in roundabout terms but not directly.
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors,”; "Show proper respect to everyone.” (1 Peter 2:13-17)
We don’t often talk about our role as Christians as good citizens of the world. We do in roundabout terms but not directly. By the time Peter was writing his short letters Roman persecution of the Church had started. Under Nero, or to give him his full title, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Christians lost the protection they had of being seen as a subset of Judaism. As the Church grew and included more Gentiles, it became recognised as a group in its own right.
Christians were good citizens of the Empire, but they refused to offer incense to Caesar once a year. Peter, in his first letter, offers advice on living as good citizens in a hostile world. 1 Peter 2:13-17 offers these pieces of advice: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors,”; “Show proper respect to everyone.”
Of course, Peter doesn’t mean to obey in things that are sinful, hence the refusal to offer incense to Caesar. Peter and John had already stood up to the Jewish Council when asked to stop preaching in Jesus’ name. But as much as you are able show respect to leaders and be good citizens.
You may not have voted Labor in the recent election, but we do need to respect our elected representatives and the office of Prime Minister. PM Albanese is not as bad as Nero, whom Peter was asking the first century Christians to respect. We can disagree with them, respectfully.
Christians ended up influencing the whole Roman world in 3 centuries by loving the unlovely, living as good citizens, and being ready to share the hope they have.
Bless you as you live and love as good citizens.