Intro: Following along with the series of messages I am preaching through 1 Peter, as Peter writes to the dispersed and persecuted church in exile throughout Asia Minor, he encourages them by writing, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12). In chapter 2 verse 13 through chapter 3 verse 8 he gives us three specific ways that we are able to have “honorable conduct”, even while living in an environment that is hostile to God and the gospel. Those three ways all involve submission to authority in different realms of our daily interactions. We are to be (1) submissive citizens, (2) submissive servants, and (3) submissive spouses.

As we look at these three focal points for submission, I’ve titled this devotional series “Our Mission is Submission – 1 Peter 2:13-3:8.”

Today we will look at Christ, our substitute:

(2) Submissive Servants – 1 Peter 2:18-25
Our Substitute and Shepherd (vs. 24-25)

In verse 24 we see that He did this as our substitute. “24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”  Galatians 3:13 explains this for us, telling us, “13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),” and Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Many today take this to say that because Jesus was crucified then you never have to be sick a day in your life. Is that what the Bible is telling us? This is healing from the curse, the penalty for sin. It is not a cure here and now for the consequences of sin, but from the curse of sin. Wrath and judgment and bondage to sin. One day there will be freedom from the consequences of sin when we are glorified, when we are finally and completely saved. Until them we are free from the curse but still suffer the consequence.

He gave Himself for us so that we could be saved and learn to be submissive! And when we fail to submit, when we fail to have a right attitude, that is a direct result of our sinfulness. As we are sanctified by the Spirit through the Word of God we learn to submit to God and to others.

Then in verse 25 Peter shows us not only that Christ is our standard for submission and our substitute so that we can be able to submit, He is also our shepherd. “25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” You see, we are able to submit to those to whom we are commanded to submit because we by grace have been enabled to submit to Christ. We submit to Him first and then submit to others in obedience to Him. He teaches us submission by example and by oversight.

He is our shepherd. This is the Greek word poimen, which means “pastor”, which means “shepherd.” Christ is our pastor! We who serve the Body of Christ as pastors are actually “under shepherds.” We serve under the oversight of Christ caring for His body. We shepherd and care for, we feed and lead souls entrusted to us and for whom we will give an account to the Chief Shepherd who has bought the sheep with His own blood.

Back to Isaiah 53 in verse 6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Couple that with John 10:11 and we find Jesus saying, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” He is our shepherd. But he doesn’t stop there. He says Jesus is the overseer of our souls. The word overseer is the word translated in Timothy and Titus as “bishop.” The word is episkopas, from which we get Episcopalian, denoting the form of church government, having overseers, or elders (the Greek presbtyr, Presbyterian). The word overseer means manager – one charged with the duty of making sure things get done as they ought.

Who is our example for this role of overseer? It is THE Overseer. It is Christ. He is the bishop, the manager of our souls.

We have learned then that Christ has come to give us a standard for submission, He has become a substitute so that we are able to submit, and He is the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls as we submit first and foremost to Him. Any submission in our lives must start with and flow from our submission to Christ.

Too often we are prone to rebellion, to stiffening the neck and hardening the heart. And we refuse to submit to someone who we believe simply does not deserve to be submitted to. In that instance we are refusing to submit to God. It is rebellion against Him and His Word.

He instructs us in Hebrews 13:7 and 17, “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

Those to whom we submit will give an account for their use of authority. And for those of us called to submission – that would be all of us – for us, we submit as Christ submitted Himself, wholeheartedly with a right attitude, honoring those, especially those who seem not to deserve honor but should be honored as God ordained authorities in our life. If they are in a position of authority and we are in a position to serve them, then we follow the example set by Christ for us.

That does not mean that submission is easy! But we have been given grace, the example of Christ, the indwelling Spirit, the inspired Word of God, and each other within the Body so that together we can learn to walk as we ought to walk. This is commendable. This is our calling. This is proof of the presence and working of God’s grace in our life.

Tomorrow we will begin our look at the third realm of submission, the home.