Question:

I wanted some clarification on what Peter says in I Peter 2:16. What does Peter mean when he says "Live as people who are free"? The context throws me off a bit because he's talking about being submissive to authority.


Answer:


"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,   or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.  For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.  Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.  Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king" (I Peter 2:13-17).

Peter is telling Christians that they must submit to governments because God commanded it. True, as Christians we are serving God first, but we still must give honor to those God has placed in authority. Some think their freedom from sin means they can rebel against the government, but that is merely an excuse to sin since God said we are to submit to governing authorities.

Paul takes the same idea further when he said not to use our liberty in Christ as an excuse to serve worldly desires (Galatians 5:13). The reality is that when we serve sin, we are no longer free (II Peter 2:18-19).