Freedom and Entitlement

Scripture:  1 Peter 2:13-17

13Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Observations:

  • “For the Lord’s sake”  — our relationships are informed first and foremost by our relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord.
  • Be subject — be properly responsive to authority:  to agents of the emperor or to the emperor.
  • an aspect of rule:  to punish those who do evil & to praise those who do good.
  • vs. 15  apparently some people were saying that followers of Jesus Christ were subverting authority and were dangerous to society.
  • vs. 16 Live as people who are free!  Our freedom is not a cover-up for evil behaviour, since we live as servants of God — the ultimate authority.
  • vs. 17 the movement in relationships as a person under authority yet free:  honour and love.

Application:

To be under the authority of God in Christ Jesus is to be free!  Free from the law of sin and death.  Free to love.  Free to forgive.  Free to serve.  Free to delight in the work of God.  Free to delight in the wonders of humanity at its best.  Free to press in fiercely for the life and blessings of God’s Kingdom in the world today.

Pride and its companions self-righteousness and entitlement will hinder the Gospel of Jesus and will poison our relationships so that honour and love depart.  When I act as if the rules and the issues of ethics apply only to everyone else and not to me, I poison my relationships.  A selfish, narcissistic, tyrannical ruler poisons his whole society.

I’m not sure we know how to honour rightly today.  Being subject to human authority and yet living free without dominating fear of oppression is an incredible gift in our Canadian society.  Who can I honour today?  Who can I show love to today?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father thank you for the freedom we enjoy.  Guard us from the fog of entitlement and help us steward this freedom well.  May my freedom in Christ not be used as a license to sin.  Instead may your Spirit generate immense love for Jesus and awe for the weight He bore at cross to deliver me from sin.  AMEN.

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