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Submission is Willingness to be Done Unto According to Peter
The First Epistle of Peter was written to the Christians who were scattered throughout the northern part of Asia Minor. These Christians were being severely persecuted by the Roman Emperor Nero, the first persecutor of Christians around AD 64, for their faith. Thousands were murdered, martyred and used as torches by Nero.
They knew that they have done nothing to deserve this suffering and God was:
Not chastening them
Not disciplining them
Not pruning them
Not refining them
Not correcting them
Not purifying them
So, they were confused, they were perplexed as they were being killed for their faith. They were beginning to entertain doubts, uncertainty and suspicion. They asked:
Where is God?
Doesn’t He love us anymore?
Why doesn’t He lift a finger to help us?
Why doesn’t He rescue us?
Why are we suffering?
Doesn’t He know?
Doesn’t He care?
Doesn’t He see?
What is God doing?
Why doesn’t God come to our aid?
Why does God allow this to happen to us?
Why doesn’t He stop Nero?
What is going on in our lives?
Certainly God could easily protect us, why doesn’t He?
1st Peter was written to these Christians in answer to their questions and to encourage them. Peter is saying to them that God is allowing all these undeserved suffering because they are His pilgrims, who are passing through and not settlers in the world. Peter reminded them that Jesus, the Master Pilgrim, submitted to God in terms of what Herod, Pilate and the Pharisees did to Him, in order to bring them to God and to put them right with God. Christ endured all the undeserved suffering and by His submission and His willingness to be done unto, He brought them to God. All His suffering became evangelistic and missionary. They were soul-winning suffering. They were redemptive suffering. Through Christ they believed in God. Christ lives in total submission to His Father, God. Now they are submitting to God in terms of what Nero are doing to them to win others to Christ. Christians, now as the body of Christ, are the pilgrim vessels through whom Christ can do what He did in His physical body when He was on earth. And through their suffering they are witnessing His love to others. Their submission to God, their willingness to be done unto is their testimony to others. God is reaching the world through them. They are bringing people to God through their submission to undeserved suffering. God will give them the grace and strength to go through their undeserved suffering. Now they share in His sufferings, then they will share in His eternal glory.
The message of 1st Peter is the message of the pilgrim life; the message of pilgrim living. The pilgrim life is a life of submission. Submission according to Paul is willingness to do: I am willing to do anything; I am willing to go anywhere; Anything God wants I am willing to sacrifice. However, submission according to Peter is not willingness to do but willingness to be done unto.
The willingness to be done unto in 1st Peter is divided into 5 broad sections. They are:
1. Submission to government (1 Peter 2:13-17)
2. Submission to employers (1 Peter 2:18-25)
3. Submission in the family (1 Peter 3:1-8)
4. Submission in all aspects of life (1 Peter 3:9-4:19)
5. Submission in the house of the God (1 Peter 5:1-11)
But, it is not in our human nature to submit. We do not take too kindly to undeserved suffering. We certainly don’t want to be done unto. It goes against our natural heart and our natural grain. Thus, when someone:
Steps on our supposed right
Touches our reputation
Lords over us
Is unreasonable towards us
Is unjust towards us
Shows us disrespect
Treats us badly
Makes unreasonable demands on us
Is inconsiderate to us
our natural heart gets angry and we want to strike back. Hitting back is so much easier than submitting. We are all trained to fight back since young.
What about me? Yes, when I am in these situations, my natural reaction is to fight back if I can or to flee but not to submit. If I submit I will be a ‘Yes’ man, I will have no back bone, I am a door-mat, I will be taken advantage off. Won’t I have difficulty to face myself if I willingly accept injustices or abuses done unto me? Would I have the strength not to automatically hit back when the trigger button is pulled on me? Will I be willing to submit when this trigger button is constantly done unto me? There is no way that I can submit on my own strength.
Yet, why then does God call me to submit? Why does God want me to be willingly done unto? Because God loves me too much to let me live with my false self and to pretend. He wants me to know what is real inside me. He wants me to know my true self. He wants me to know what is real and what’s not real for me. When God permits the undeserved suffering in my life, I will see that I don’t have what it takes to submit. On my own strength, there is no way I am able to submit particularly on the personal relationships level. I will be able to submit only if I pray to Christ to give me the strength to submit. Also, if I believe that God is in charge of my life and He allows these circumstances to happen to me. The undeserved suffering is designed to drive me back to God, to crowd me back to Him and to turn me back to Him. It is a mirror to show me how much I need the Lord. How much I need to run back to Him and call on Him.
I must constantly remind myself that submission is always unto God not unto man. Christ did not submit to Herod, to Pilate or to the Pharisees but He submitted to God even though Herod, Pilate or the Pharisees were mistreating and unreasonable to Him. He submitted only to God. I am to do the same---submit to Christ. So what I am supposed to do is to trust and pray to Christ to give me the grace and strength of:
Not getting angry
Not fighting back
Not getting even
No cold war
No wounded silence
No hard words
No cross looks
Turning the other cheek
Going the second mile
Praying for the persecutors
When I trust Christ and pray to Him to help me to submit to Him, I am in a personal relationship with Him. The fact that I am able to willingly accept the undeserved suffering, after I have prayed to Christ, shows that it is a miracle of Christ.
What other benefits are there to this submission? Firstly, my personal relationships in the family and friends will grow and flourish. Secondly, I can become the channel or vehicle for Christ to work through me.
Christ willingly submits to being done unto for me, to put me right with God. Can I become the vehicle, the channel for Christ to work through me to bring others to Him by my willing submission to be done unto? Can I see that this willingness to be done unto is my mission work here and now and not some other places? Thus, my undeserved suffering is my mission and my submission is my testimony to the love of Christ for me.
You can download the MP3 Audio Sermons by Pastor Ed Miller into your computer and listen or burn them into CD for later easier listening by clicking on the download links below.
You can go to Ed Miller’s website www.biblestudyministriesinc.net and download all his Audio Sermons on his commentaries of most of the 66 books in the Bible.
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