1Pe 2:17-19 “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”
There is an inherent value to the life of God’s creation, simply because He made it. That is the crux of the instruction to “Honour all men.” This does not imply that all of mankind is honorable or good. But all mankind has value, as does the rest of creation, because of the Creator. There is a great dearth of appreciation for the work of the creator in the world today. While we are told to honor all men (mankind), we are instructed to love the brotherhood.
What a wonderful estate we find ourselves in when we love those who are the kindred in Christ. Again, it is not necessarily implied here that our brothers and sisters in Christ will always behave in a loving manner. Just as we are to value mankind for no greater reason than that they are the creation of God, we are to love the brotherhood for no greater reason than our mutual relationship with and in Jesus Christ. Do you see the progression here? Valuing God’s creation because He made it, and valuing the brotherhood because of Him who makes this brotherhood possible, leads to reverence (fear) for God.
If we truly have reverence for God, then we will be good citizens from both a natural and a spiritual standpoint. We will honor government and be submissive to the law, and we will have no desire to dishonor the law. While it may seem strange to man’s thinking, Peter says we are to be submissive not only to the good and kind (those who behave before God in an appropriate manner), but also to the froward, or perverse. God obviously knows that we will have rulers who seek the good of those they rule, and we will have rulers who are more concerned with their own agenda than the good of others. Nonetheless, if we would hold God in reverence, then we are told to behave ourselves where rulers are concerned. Our good behavior (conversation) is not for us or those who have rule.
The scripture tells us this behavior is “thankworthy.” The Greek interpretation of this is to be gracious or to show the divine influence on our hearts as reflected in the way we live our lives. We can and should stand for the truth of God, but we are not to do so by inciting riot and rebellion. We are to do so in a manner that gives glory to Him whom we hold in reverence. There is no shame in suffering unjustly, as long as we consciously endure the hardship for the love of the brotherhood. Suffering unjustly does not necessarily mean that we are physically assaulted in some way. It may be that those we thought of as friends hold us in derision because we love the people of God. The world may point a finger at us and laugh at our “old-fashioned” belief in the Bible. We do not gain anything, nor do we show reverence to God, by becoming riotous and brawlers. Rather, let us endure hardness as good soldiers (2 Tim 2:3-5).
May we value all the work of our Creator, have a deep and abiding love for the kindred in Christ, and always act according to our conscience toward God!