You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 1, 2016.

Intro: Following along with the series of messages I am preaching through 1 Peter, as Peter writes to the dispersed and persecuted church in exile throughout Asia Minor, he encourages them by writing, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12). In chapter 2 verse 13 through chapter 3 verse 8 he gives us three specific ways that we are able to have “honorable conduct”, even while living in an environment that is hostile to God and the gospel. Those three ways all involve submission to authority in different realms of our daily interactions. We are to be (1) submissive citizens, (2) submissive servants, and (3) submissive spouses.

As we look at these three focal points for submission, I’ve titled this devotional series “Our Mission is Submission – 1 Peter 2:13-3:8.”

Today we will look at what it means to be free and have liberty in Christ:

(1) Submissive Citizens – 1 Peter 2:13-17
Freedom and Liberty (vs. 16)

In verse 16 he says we do good as free, but not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Let’s look at these words “free” and “liberty.”

Free means independent. We are independent, we have been freed by Christ and in Christ. This does not mean we are independent from God. Quite the contrary, the only true freedom in this world comes from being a slave of Jesus Christ. How free are we in Christ? True freedom comes through knowing Christ – He is the way, the truth, and the life, and He said we will know the truth and the truth will make us free. And in knowing Him we learn the true greatness of what it means to be free. True freedom is understanding that I am not in control, I am not in charge, ever, and that it doesn’t depend on me. When I am faithless, He is faithful.

That is freeing isn’t it? We are never in control. The Bible teaches us that either sin is in control or the Holy Spirit is in control. It is never us. Read Romans 6 and 7.

From what have we been freed?

We have been freed from the curse of sin and death under the law. (Romans 6:7, 18). Galatians 5:1 reminds us that we are to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Sin is a yoke of bondage. We wear now the yoke of Christ. Jesus says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Now we often think that freedom means independence and doing whatever I want to do, but the word liberty helps us define our freedom. Liberty is defined as “living as we should, not as we please.” Liberty does not mean free to do whatever we want. Liberty brings with it responsibility.

The Reverend Doctor Peter Marshall, Presbyterian pastor and Chaplain of the United States Senate, once led in prayer saying:

“May freedom be seen, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to please to do what is right. May it ever be understood that our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else. May our faith be something that is not merely stamped upon our coins, but expressed in our lives. We know that we shall be true to the Pilgrim dream when we are true to the God they worshiped. To the extent that America honors Thee, wilt Thou bless America, and keep her true as Thou has kept her free, and make her good as Thou has made her rich. Amen.”

He also stated:

“Most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do; our trouble is that we do not want to do it.”

True freedom and the responsibilities of liberty are found is servitude, in serving Christ and serving others. So we do not yearn to be free so that we get our way every time. That is using freedom as a cloak for sin and self. We find freedom as blood bought slaves of Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 7:22, “For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.” That means that whoever rules over us while we live on this earth should be able to expect our obedience and honorable conduct where we are able to obey.

1 Corinthians 8:9-13, “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?  11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” Don’t use your freedom to make yourself a slave of sin, or to make others stumble.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 he says, “7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.”

In this esteem and servitude, this freedom and liberty, we must guard against the temptation to use that liberty as a cloak for sin, as a cover for wickedness. The term cloak speaks of a veil – do not try to cover and hide and veil your sin with the claim of “liberty.” This never happens does it? No, surely not. No one ever sinned and then proclaimed their freedom in Christ to do so, right?

Let’s face the truth – we are pretty good at justifying sin, at least to ourselves. We blame circumstances, other people around us, our emotions, or sometimes we just claim to be human as if they is an excuse to disobey God and His Word.

Galatians 5:13-14 reminds us quite plainly that our liberty in Christ is never a license to sin and that true liberty is expressed in our responsibility to do and promote what is good. “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Tomorrow we will learn what Peter means when he tells us to “honor all people.”

 

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