The Despisers of Authority

Thursday, October 1

Some people are considered “natural students” in the classroom. They barely need to study to make excellent grades. They absorb material easily. Their knowledge seems to “stick.” Second Peter 1 and 2, however, make it evident that our education in Christ is an equal-opportunity experience for those who will dedicate themselves.

The encouraging words of 2 Peter 1 contrast with the sobering warning in 2 Peter 2.

Read 2 Peter 2:1-17. What powerful and condemning words is he saying here? At the same time, amid this sharp warning and condemnation, what great hope is promised to us?

Notice what Peter writes in verse 10 about those who despise authority. What a sharp rebuke for what is a reality in our day, as well. We as a church body must work on the assumption of certain levels of authority (see Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24), and we are called to submit to and obey them, at least to the degree that they are being faithful to the Lord themselves.

However, amid this harsh condemnation, Peter offers (in verse 9) a counterpoint. He says that although God is mighty to cast out those who chose deception, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations”. Is it possible that part of our education in Christianity is not only avoiding temptation but also learning the many ways that God can and does deliver us from it as well as help guard us against those, he warns, who “privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2 Peter 2:1)? And also, since the despising of authority is so condemned, shouldn’t our Christian education also consist of learning the right way to understand, submit, and obey “them which have the rule over you” (Hebrews 13:7)?

Though one could not say that Adam and Eve despised authority, in the end they chose to disobey that authority. And what made their transgression so bad was that they did it in response to a blatant contradiction of what that authority, God Himself, had told them, and who had done so for their own good, as well.

Dwell more on this question of authority, not just in the church or in the family, but in life in general. Why is authority, both the proper exercise of authority and the proper submission to it, so important?

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