How conscious are you of God? How well do you know God?
In 1 Peter 2:18-20 Peter has instructions for those within the believing community who occupy a lower social status. Jesus reminded his followers that it was “hard” for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Riches may well equate with self-sufficiency and turn the heart of anyone away from God.
I wonder how surprised the slaves ‘in the congregations’ were to receive instruction from one of the church’s leaders. Peter was an apostle (a foundation layer – Ephesians 2:20) for the whole church, not just the ‘wealthy’ part. So in writing to slaves, to those who did not have status in the Roman empire, what would he say?
“Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect,…” Everyone must ‘submit’ at some point. Those who don’t submit to others prove they have not truly yielded their lives to a new Master, namely Jesus Christ.
But what kind of earthly masters are worthy of submission? Peter continues his instruction – “…not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” It’s relatively easy to yield to a boss/master who is good and considerate, but to one who is harsh? That’s going to require grace. That’s going to require the help of God and a resistance of the natural temptation to be rebellious.
What’s God’s perspective on difficult ‘submissive’ challenges? Peter instructs further – “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.” Who is keeping track of the lives of His children? Who is 100% aware of ‘injustice’ in any circumstance? GOD is! The issue for the serious Christ-follower is ‘Am I conscious of God?’
Peter clarifies this instruction even further – “But how is to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it?” If you have ‘crossed the line’ and ‘defied’ the clear instruction of your ‘authority figure’ e.g. parent, master, government and are punished, you should not be proud. You are receiving what you deserve. You are reaping what you have sown.
On the other hand – “…if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, THIS is commendable before God.” God understands innocent suffering. Take a look at the very example of Jesus Christ. We’ll pick that up in the next post on this blog.
So let me return to my original question – “How conscious are you of God?” How conscious am I of God? How would you explain God’s omniscience? Why, if God knows all things does He not interrupt all injustice? Why do the innocent suffer? I don’t intend to have any ‘quick’ answers to the complexities of these questions. Plenty of solid thinking has been penned for your perusal. I’d challenge to you explore “Apologetics” courses – in fact if you are in the GTA, Heritage Seminary will be offering such a course this September under the instruction of Dr. Steve West. Check out – Discover Heritage and contact the school for more details!