What Manner of Person Ought You to Be

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What Manner of Person Ought You to Be

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A central question that Peter asks each of us who seek entry into God’s Kingdom is, “what manner of person ought you to be?” (2 Peter 3:11). He concludes his passage with these words, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (verses 14—15).

Let’s stop to focus on one blameless attribute that our Lord seeks in us right now: submission to Him (James 4:7). It is an attribute that the world thinks we should grow out of, wisen up from and leave behind. It is associated with the unenlightened, the simple-minded, the ignorant and the unaware. You would have to be pretty dumb to retain it these days. Surely, we have grown more sophisticated than the ones who fall for this idea. I have matured away from it, haven’t you?

This is going to seem really dated, old-fashioned and un-hip. You’ll probably count me among the dinosaurs of rational thought if you read on. But, look at God’s timeless teaching on the subject:

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake” (Romans 13:1-5).

We might respond, “Surely, that was written for a time when leaders were wise, ethical, moral, lawful, and godly, but today? No way! Leaders now have glaring flaws. They do stupid things. They make mistakes and their sins are news everywhere.” Thus, we are right in submitting only to those authorities that we deem to be fit for it. Right?

Question: Using a modern, “enlightened” and insightful skill-set, when would we advocate any of the following?

*“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Who have the clearest view of husbands’ weaknesses? Aren’t women equal today?

*“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). Who are the most critical discerners of fairness? Isn’t discipline archaic today?

*“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account” (Hebrews 13:17). Who are the most visible and fallible humans in the Church? Submit to an imperfect man, or to Christ?

The apostle Paul also admonishes us all to submit ourselves to each other “in the fear of the Lord” (Ephesians 5:21).

It is commonly said that the concepts of the Bible are “archaic” today. The term “archaic” is defined in Encarta Dictionary as describing something that is “no longer in general use but is still encountered in older literature.”

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). So, who changed? We did. Society changed and has been dragging us along into its carnal mindset. Yet, this “present evil world” is far from where God has always been and will forever be.

Where have we come to? Is your mindset “enlightened” or “archaic?” Paul wrote Romans 13 in AD 57 to the church in Rome. At that time, the Caesar of the Roman Empire was Nero, who was associated with tyranny and extravagance and who executed his own mother. Peter and the other apostles emphasize that “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) and Paul instructs us to “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul did not blindly follow Nero—he was in fact imprisoned on several occasions as a result of his disobedience to the authorities over him—but he also did not ignore all of the laws Nero established. As long as they did not oppose God’s law, he obeyed. In comparison to Paul’s submission under Nero’s leadership, what excuse do you have for not submitting to the authority over you?

Peter asks us, “What manner of person OUGHT you to be?” That is the real question for us as the Sabbath beckons us each week to become more like our Savior, the Lord of the Sabbath. Consider where Christ’s mind is. Meditate on where you may have drifted. Determine to step further away from society and its mindset and become more “peculiar” to it as we live each day.

As Peter said, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10, King James Version).

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