|Volume 24 Number 11 November 2022
“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). When Peter wrote that we should honor all people, he was speaking of showing esteem to others, to bestow special marks of favor on someone, to prize, to assign worth or value. It is used of the attitude children should have toward their parents (Ephesians 6:2), of kings or those in authority (1 Peter 2:17), of God and Christ (John 5:22-23) and of everyone (Romans 12:10).
This principle is true because we all are created in the image of God. We may feel some people are not worthy of honor due to their conduct. Interestingly, when Peter wrote 1 Peter and exhorted his readers to “honor the king [emperor],” he was speaking of Nero. While we certainly should not emulate ungodly and sinful behavior, we can still acknowledge the love of God for all, that He does not desire any to be lost and that all deserve to hear the Gospel, which can change one’s heart, behavior and eternal destination.
This concept of honor is rooted not only in our being created in the image of God but in that God honors those who reflect that image. This basic principle was emphasized when God confronted Eli about his sons. “Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed’” (1 Samuel 2:30 NKJV). The phrase “lightly esteemed” carries the thought of considering something as trivial. Obviously, God is not trivial, nor should those He made in His image be considered as such either. “‘Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?’ says the Lord God, ‘and not that he should turn from his ways and live?’” (Ezekiel 18:23).
Some time back, I was helping someone who was in obvious need. As I did my best to help him through the difficulties he was facing, he looked at me and said, “Everyone tries to take advantage of me. Do you think bad about me because of who I am?” I assured him he was just as important to God as anyone else since he was made in His image. With this, he unexpectedly embraced me and thanked me. There are those in desperate situations who just need to hear some kind words and be reassured they have worth and value.
The words of our Lord help us to do what Peter encouraged us to do in 1 Peter 2:17. “…just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). We know we all have sin and struggle to overcome it. There are times when it gains the upper hand, and we have to deal with its consequences. Isn’t it wonderful God still loves us as His children, that knowing this, He still sent Christ to die for our sins? He honors us when we submit to Him and seek Him as an integral part of our lives. If we are imitators of God, as beloved children (Ephesians 5:1), we will take honoring each other seriously. If we lose the desire to honor God, it’s no wonder we lose our desire to honor each other. Ultimately, one also loses respect for himself as God’s creation. Thus, we find, in a society and a world where self is exalted above everyone else, the issues that plague us.
May we honor all people because we honor God. We will be amazed at the difference it makes in people’s lives and ultimately also in our lives.
Paul and Evangelism
Gary C. Hampton
Paul’s meeting with the Ephesian elders reveals much about his desire to spread the good news to all people. It began with his willingness to say everything people needed to hear. He reminded them of his work, saying, “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:20-21 NKJV). We must be like him because the Lord assigned us the task of taking the Gospel to every person under Heaven (Mark 16:15-16; Ezekiel 3:17-19).
The apostle to the Gentiles was able to speak openly because he did not count his physical life dear. Despite knowing that chains and tribulation awaited him in Jerusalem, he declared, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself” (Acts 20:24). The brethren in Caesarea begged him not to go, but he asked, “…What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). We, too, need to recognize the importance of denying self, taking up our cross and following Jesus (Luke 14:26-27).
Paul’s single purpose was to finish the course the Lord gave him. He expressed his overriding desire, saying, “…so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). The apostle related to Agrippa that the Lord assigned him the task of opening the eyes of the Gentiles to “…turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). We must set our sights on teaching all with whom we come in contact so that, like Paul, we can look forward to receiving a crown (2 Timothy 4:6-8).