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Rooted in Christ

Live as Free

We exercise our freedom from this fallen world not by subversion but by submission for the sake of Christ.

“that... they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12, NKJV) 

Our Lord Jesus made it clear in His high priestly prayer that His disciples are in the world but not of the world. Peter has reflected that duality by indicating we live in this world but we do so as aliens and sojourners. We live here on mission as ambassadors of our King. 

Peter has just written about living our lives as sojourning citizens of heaven. With that comes the mandate to live lives under the lordship of Christ, conducting ourselves in a manner that honors Him and bears witness to others among whom we live in this world. 

That means honoring the institutions God has ordained. Peter writes: “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good” (1 Pet. 2:13–14). As believers, we are to recognize and respect the order and authority of government, always with the caveat that we must obey God rather than men.

When Peter and Jesus were in Capernaum, a tax collector approached Peter and asked if Jesus paid temple tax (Matt. 17:24-27). This question pitted allegiance to the Kingdom of God against allegiance to the kingdom of this world. When Peter engaged Jesus on the subject, Jesus acknowledged allegiance to the Kingdom of God but also expressed deference to the God-given authority of human institutions. 

In writing now about our relationship with earthly governments, Peter brings to bear those same themes emphasized by Jesus at Capernaum. “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:15–17). 

Living in the world but not of it submits to human authority for the Lord’s sake and ultimately serves the will of God. We exercise our freedom from the bondage of this fallen world not by subversion but by submission for the sake of Christ. 

REFLECTION: Our freedom in Christ is neither license nor lawlessness.   

Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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