1 Peter 2:21 (ESV): 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Peter wrote believers scattered throughout Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, who were suffering or would soon suffer for their faith in Jesus. He wrote to assure them of their salvation, but also to challenge them to holy living.
It may only make sense due to their suffering in a hostile society, but Peter’s first practical application of how to live holy was to be obedient to governmental authorities. His second application was for slaves to be obedient to their masters, even if they were unjust in their treatment.
We should understand that instructions like these from Peter were not a justification for the evil of slavery to continue. Rather, instead of teaching rebellion against societal institutions, God’s Word teaches how to live, think, and speak holy in a corrupt world. This holiness in heart and life then destroys the immoral foundations of societal practices. A society that is revitalized by biblical foundations must come to grips with immoral systems and reject them.
When we suffer injustice, whether on a societal or more individual level, it is quite difficult to be patient, quiet, and faithful in our own responsibilities in life, work, and our community.
Yet Peter wrote that we have been called to do good and suffer for it, for Christ our example also suffered from us and has called us to follow in his steps.
Jesus himself said that a servant is not greater than his master. We should not expect an unholy world to treat us any better than it did the holy Son of God.
Therefore, we must choose to follow in Jesus’ steps of suffering all the while loving others, responding with kindness and sacrificing our prerogatives.
Heavenly Father, help me to follow closely in Jesus’ steps, willingly suffering for your sake because he suffered for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.