“Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:16-17
In the United States freedom is highly prized. It was founded on the principles of being free. Although freedom is great it has to be lived within certain boundaries. Peter had just told the people to submit to every human authority, not just the good ones or Christian ones. With that he now states to live free, but within a boundary.
People love to use that statement to live free and forget the rest of what was said. They will try to say they are living free, when in reality they are just trying to cover-up some sin in their life. Living free does not mean doing what you want, when you want and how you want each and every time. It is living life in consideration of others, while enjoying life yourself.
This is showing respect for others. Peter starts with respecting other believers. Inside the church there are people who cut down other believers. They will slam their ways of teaching, or the way they dress and look. They will not follow the pastor in what he is saying.
Then there is the need to respect God. Respecting Him is following His rules. It is living your life in a way that honors Him. It is trusting Him with everything. People tend to use His name in wrong ways, refuse to trust Him, and live double lives.
Finally Peter stated to honor the emperor. Remember that the emperor was the dreaded, hated Roman empire that made them slaves. Regardless of how a person feels about their leaders, one must respect their position. During this season of presidential campaigns, many people are not being honoring of the president and each other. They focus on what is wrong rather than what God is doing and what is right.
What are your words saying about others?
What are your actions saying about others?
Yes, you are free…free to live for God, free to love others, free to build others up, free to be His witness, free to be obedient to authorities and God, free to serve God, free to serve others. You are not free to live in sin.
Are you being free today?
I pray today that you will live free in Jesus; that you will use your freedom for God’s ways; that you will be a slave for God; that you will show proper respect to everyone; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.