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1 Peter 2:17: Honor Everyone. Love The Brotherhood. Fear God. Honor The Emperor.

1 Peter 2:17
[17] Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (ESV)

We are given instruction here on how to relate to all levels of people. This verse category is quite simple; everyone! We are to honor everyone. It is a lot easier to say that we will honor everyone than for us to actually do it. We tend to have no problem offering honor to those whom we think are honorable. Peter gives us no option to withhold honor from anyone. We are to treat all people honorably.

Peter moves to our love for the brotherhood. What does he mean by the brotherhood? He is speaking of the church. This is such a significant point. Jesus said, in John 13:35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (ESV). When it comes to how we treat people in the church, it is essential that we love each other. This is the very thing that shows that we are Christians.

As the outside world observes those who claim to follow Jesus Christ, how should they see us treating God himself? Peter says that we should fear God. Because of what Christ has accomplished for us on the cross we do not need to be terrified of God. Peter is referring here to a proper respect that is due our wonderful creator. There is no place for taking his name in vain, or treating him casually. He is holy.

This last instruction is to honor the emperor. As you are reading this you are thinking, "I'm off the hook. We have no emperor." This directive would be for any person who is in authority over us. Remember, as we have looked at in previous verses, all authority is ultimately from God. For God's sake we are to give honor to those who are in authority over us, even if they are not godly. Authority is of God.

How well are you doing at treating others properly? It is not as easy as we may think. Rely on the Holy Spirit. Ask him to help you to honor everyone, love the church, fear God, and honor those in charge. He will help you!