Peter’s first epistle describes the need for holy living in persecution. Peter reminds believers that we are a holy people, a spiritual body, and God’s own possession (2:9–10). We must live as God’s people, refraining from sinful desires so those around us who desire to slander us will have no choice but to glorify God (2:11–12). As a heavenly people, we might suppose it is unnecessary to obey human laws. Peter answers this with two commands.
First, submit to every human authority for the Lord’s sake (2:13–15).
As Paul said in Romans 13, all authority has been put in place by God. Refusing to submit to human authority is refusing to submit to God. God’s will for us is that we silence the ignorance of foolish people by our blameless lives.
Second, demonstrate your fear of God by honoring the men set over you (2:16–17).
Someone might object that since we serve God we can ignore unbelievers in authority. However, Peter reminds us that although we have been freed from all human enslavement, we are still the slaves of God. Therefore, we must be respectful of all people, demonstrate genuine love toward believers, fear God above all, and respect the rulers He has set up.