Freedom Through Submission

1 Peter 2:16 (ESV) … “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

The life of the Christian is a marked life of submission. We confess Jesus to be our Lord and authority over our lives. Our life is no longer ours but his in exchange for eternal life and being given the privilege to be children of God.

While we may not like the idea of submission, we must confess that the exchange the Lord made with us is more than a little incredible. After all, we escape judgment, death, and the grave. We no longer worry about Hell and the terrible punishment awaiting us for all eternity. In exchange, we get to live today and every day for the glory of the Lord as we submit unto Jesus.

Another critical point to remember is that submission to authority does not eliminate freedom from the believer’s life. Perhaps this concern prompted Peter to speak to the subject of freedom. The freedom of the New Testament is not political freedom but spiritual freedom.

The great freedoms of the Christian life are (1) freedom from the ruling power of sin in our lives; (2) freedom from guilt because our sins have been forgiven by God; and (3) freedom from the impossible obligation of attempting to earn favor with God through perfect obedience.

The Bible emphasizes that in those areas where the Word of God gives no command or primary principle, we are free and responsible to choose our own course of action. This is a freedom to choose what is right. Christian freedom does not allow us to do wrong. It does not permit us to disobey human laws unless these are in direct conflict with God’s ways. Nor does our freedom permit us to disobey God, because we are servants of God.

This word servants (doulos) literally means “a slave.” We are free, yet paradoxically we are slaves who serve God with our lives. Christian freedom is always conditioned by Christian responsibility. Christian freedom does not mean being free to do only as we like; it means being free to do as we ought.[1]

[1] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, p. 34). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.