Keep your conduct honorable
The apostle Peter has left two letters, preserved in the Bible. The first is to a group of churches beginning to experience persecution for their faith.
Peter doesn’t explain the source of the persecution. Instead, he tells them, “Keep your conduct… honorable” (1 Peter 2:12), hoping to help believers avoid persecution.
Sometimes persecution is inevitable; Peter hopes to eliminate as much as possible by explaining how to be honorable toward those who are in various positions of authority.
First Peter talks about the believers’ relationship to government.
His command is clear; we are to obey those in government authority (1 Peter 2:13-14).
What this means for us is clear as well.
We obey the laws of our national, state and local governments. We pay our taxes, stop at stop signs and drive the speed limit. We do these things whether or not we like the laws or the people who are in office.
Personality, political party, nor voting record are excuses to disobey government officials.
Scripture offers few exceptions to this principle.
For example, Elijah the prophet opposed the false religion of his king. Daniel’s three friends refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue. Peter and John ignored the command to stop preaching about Jesus.
In the Christmas story, the wise men ignore Herod’s command to tell him where to find the Christ Child.
In each case, the command of God overrides the command of government. Obeying God rather than men was right. Interestingly, in most of those cases it also brought persecution.
We are fortunate; we don’t need to worry about the kind of persecution Peter wrote about.
Even so, our Christian witness demands we be honorable and follow government law. Very few will be the times we would violate God’s commands by doing so.