Paul begins this chapter with a reminder that believers should submit to our leaders
Remind your people to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey them, and to be ready to do good in every way (v1 GNB)
This follow his instruction in 1 Timothy 2 v 1 & 2 to pray for them
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people. for Kings (and Queens) and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence to God and with proper conduct.
We may not like our government and rulers, or have views on having a King, Queen or an elected leader but Paul speaking from experience of living under the oppressive rule of the Romans, still exhorts us to respect and be obedient to them, to pray for them and by so doing we can live in peace as this pleases God.
He continues with instruction to be peaceful and friendly to everyone and to not speak evil as we ourselves were foolish once and have only been made good by Gods grace.
Tell them not to speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceful and friendly, and always to show a gentle attitude towards everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient and wrong (v2-3 GNB)
I am reminded of Thumper’s comment in the film Bambi;
If you can’t say nothing good, then don’t say nothing at all
God saved us from a life of hatred purely through his kindness
It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy that he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us.(v 5)
God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour so that by his grace we might be put right with God and come into possession of the eternal life we hope for (v 6&7)
This shows that it is God himself who washes us through Jesus Christ, not the act of baptism or good deeds.
Paul again finishes with a reminder that we should “do good”
Our people must learn to spend their time doing good, in order to provide for real needs; they should not live useless lives.
This chapter demonstrates that we do not earn his favour first by doing good but that we should do good as an expression of the grace that has been poured out on us.