Submitting In The Work Place.

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Read Read Matthew Henry's Commentary on 1 Peter 2:18-25.

In this section Peter shows us how to submit in the work place. He specifically mentions

servants here, but the principles apply in all spheres of work and business.

Verse 18 - In our work place we are to submit (place ourselves willingly under their authority) to our boss whether they are good (patient towards you and fair in their dealings) or harsh (unfair and even abusive).

We are to work under their authority in 'fear' ('phobos') - fear of causing them to stumble and miss the grace of God. Fear of missing God's will in this relationship (remember that the aim is always to respond in sincere love in order, if possible, to win the souls of those concerned).

Verse 19 - Literally this verse states 'for this is grace (charis)' - Grace = Gladly Receiving All Christ Endured.

Click here for An illustration of God's grace.

If we have a pure concience towards God and we suffer because of that then we are demonstrating the grace of God. His grace is sufficient in these times of suffering and will also testify to others.

Verse 20 - Again, here it explains that 'this is commendable' (literally 'this is grace'). If we suffer because of our own misdeeds then there is nothing commendable in that. But suffering for the sake of Christ shows forth the finest form of humanity.

Verse 21 - We have been 'called' (literally 'invited') to enter into the sufferings of Christ. His suffering is an example for us. We cannot suffer as a sacrifice for sins, but we can suffer so others may accept Jesus' sacrifice on their behalf.

Verse 22 - In this verse Peter quotes

Isaiah 53:9 which is about the suffering servant.

Peter saw first hand how Jesus had no guile (deceit) in Him and was sinless. This is one of the flesh items we are to lay aside (See 1 Peter 2:1).

Verse 23 - See Luke 22:63-65 . Peter observed Jesus as He was mocked and reviled. Jesus did not fight back in the flesh and this became a powerful testimony (the centurion at the cross recognised Jesus as being a righteous man).

Jesus commited Himself to God, the righteous Judge. We too must do this and not try to take justice into our own hands (the modern practice of sueing our bosses and fellow-workers is against the Spirit of Christ).

Verse 24 - Again quoting from Isaiah 53 Peter shows what Jesus accomplished on the Cross - He bore our sins and by his stripes we are healed. We too must die to sin (reacting in the flesh in times of suffering or under a harsh boss) and partake in the sufferings of Christ (suffer as He did with great calm and joy, not fighting back but knowing God is Judge).

Through Christ's sufferings mankind can enter into God's kingdom. As we partake in His sufferings, we give others a chance to enter into that Kingdom too. This is taking up our cross and following Him - see this touching story: How's Your Back ? - A story about bearing your cross.

Verse 25 - Jesus has been seen as the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 (like a sheep going to the slaughter), now He is seen as our Great Shepherd who oversees our souls (in the process of Sanctification).

Peter must have thought back to Jesus' parting words ('feed my sheep') as he wrote this. We too are sheep being prepared as a sacrifice. Jesus has paved the way and we must follow Him. If we really love Him we will return to Him , the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls (See this Article by Oswald Chambers on Jesus' question 'Do you love Me ?'.).

How do we practically apply these principles in the nitty gritty of the work place ? Following are some case studies you can ponder over as a group...

(1) Your boss asks you to lie on the phone to say he's not there when he is.

You know that if you don't do as he says his anger will arise and

he'll probably fire you. What are the possible courses of action ?

What would you do ?

(2) You are in a company that discriminates against Christians. Your

boss has just employed a new non-Christian employee who is

much younger than you and less experienced and less qualified.

Your boss places them in a superior role to you with better pay and

they give you all the dirty jobs to do. One day the new employee comes

and asks you to clean the toilet which is not your responsibility.

What are the possible courses of action ? What would be the best

course according to Scriptural principles ?

(3) Your boss tells all of the staff they have to pray at the company

altar. You know that not doing this will probably mean losing your

job. You have been happily employed for many years in this

company and earn a good salary to support your family. Leaving the

job would mean you would be unable to support your family unless

you quickly get another source of income.

What are the possible courses of action ? What would be the best

thing to do following Biblical principles ?

When you have finished the above click here to go back to the contents and continue your study.