1 Peter 2:11-25
Submission and Sin
Read 1 Peter 2:11-15
This section of Scripture really gets to the heart of the matter concerning sin and our attitude towards it on the inside as well as our behavior on the outside.
Luke 6:45 “…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (ESV) or “…for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (NASB) The words that come out of our mouths are a direct result of what fills our hearts. Think back to the parable of the Sower that we have referenced several times in our study. When our heart is made of good, fertile soil, full of the Word of God, our mouths will honor Him. But when our hearts are hard and full of thorns and rocks, our words and actions will reflect that too.
What’s on the Inside?
Sin. Yucky, evil sin. Remember all the sins we wrote down in our homework this week? Sexual Immorality, Envy, Lust, Malice, Deceit – all sins that keep us from having a pure heart. You’ve certainly heard it said that “people are generally good”, but the reverse is actually true. People are born into a sin nature. There is no one who escapes that, which is why a rebirth must occur.
The good news for those of us that have chosen to make Jesus the Lord of our lives and have received his gift of salvation, is that now our inside is full of JESUS! He has taken all of our sin, removed it as far as the east is from the west and covered us with His precious blood. No longer does sin define us – it’s Jesus in us that defines who we are.
What’s on the Outside?
Hypocrisy. When these ugly things (sins) are on the inside, they show up on the outside too. Oh, we may think we’re doing a good job hiding what lies beneath the surface. But God brings everything to light. Most of the time, people can see right through the charade. That’s why Christians have been labeled as hypocrites so often. We are full of sin on the inside, but we feel the need to look good on the outside to hide what’s inside. When our inside doesn’t match our outside, that’s hypocrisy.
These sins, these passions of the flesh, 1 Peter 2:11 says they are waging war against your soul! WAR! We can’t sit idly by while sin wreaks havoc on our lives. We must abstain from the passions of the flesh. That means we DON’T DO THEM ANY MORE. We are holy, set apart, a chosen people. STOP SINNING!
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
Not too long ago I met an old friend for dinner. The last time we had caught up we had the whole family along, so our conversation stayed on the surface. This time however, it was just my friend and me. Within the first five minutes, our conversation had gone deep, to a level I haven’t reached with very few other people. She was pouring her heart out to me, sharing her struggles, confessing her sin, asking me about my sin and where I struggle, sharing Scripture, and we were praying for each other. It was a beautiful time together and it made me think of James 5:16. Most of the time when we think of confessing our sins to someone else, it brings panic and terror! I don’t want anyone to know what I’m really like on the inside! But God’s precious promise to us is that if we obediently confess our sins to each other, WE WILL BE HEALED! That sin that plagues you will be forgiven, that illness you’re battling will be healed. We are not meant to carry our burdens alone. I will tell you right now that if you need someone “safe” to confess to, I’m your girl. I will listen to you, I will pray with you, I will pray for you and I will anticipate your healing with you. I would love so much to be a part of that with you.
We have an interesting transition here in 1 Peter 2:13-21 concerning submission. At first it seemed kind of random to me, like a new story with no segue. But it fits in a lot better than I first thought! As we are talking about the need for our outer actions to match our inner hearts, we come to the subject of submission. Peter tells us that we are to submit to the authority of every human institution, whether honorable or dishonorable. This means our president, our governor, our Congress, our Senate, our mayor, our police force, our pastors, our elders – any authority over us. In verse 16 he instructs us to live as people who are free, not using our freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
Verse 18 talks about servants and slaves being subject to their masters, even in the midst of suffering. 1 Peter 2:19 says “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” As we submit to authority, we must be mindful of God. That’s the key to submission! We can’t do it on our own. Our gaze must be fixed on Him. If we are focused on the people to whom we must submit we will not be able to endure. As we practice submission to those in authority over us, we must be mindful of God (v19), with our submission completely independent from the worthiness of the person to whom we are submitting.
So why all this talk of submission, when just a few sentences before we were reading about sin?
Your response to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in your life is a direct result of the condition of your heart and your willingness to submit to the Father. When our hearts are not fully submitted to the leadership of God in our lives, we will never be able to submit to any authority. In the same way, a person that will not submit to authority reveals a heart that will not submit to God.
It’s as if a window stands between the heart and the body, revealing what is on both sides.
But it’s not just for our benefit. We don’t need our words and actions to match perfectly just so that we can check our boxes, right? Why do we need to pursue righteousness then? Verse 12 is the key – “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” We need our outsides to match our insides so that unbelievers will see and recognize God and give Him glory.
Christ has left us an example (Read v21-25) so that we can follow in his steps. He is the only one whose forever-pure words overflowed from a forever-pure heart. He had no sin, he responded rightly to suffering, he died for us on the cross. It’s by his wounds that we are healed.
I’m Definitely a Hypocrite.
It’s time to confess.
Are you a hypocrite too? (Hate to burst your bubble, but we all are.) He wants to bring healing to you! He’ll do that when you confess your sins to each other and to him and ultimately submit to His authority. Life with Him is so much sweeter than life without. It’s for freedom that he sets us free. The same power that raised Jesus from the grave now lives in us! Romans 8:11 says “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Submit to Him and allow his power to work in you so that your heart will be cleaned and your actions will bring Him glory.
Listen to this song by Jeremy Camp called “Same Power” and be encouraged that you CAN conquer sin. You can learn to submit to the Father. And you will be healed. Hallelujah and Amen!