What do you think of when you think of freedom? What does freedom mean to you?
No rules. No boundaries. Getting to do whatever we want without consequences.
That's what I often think of when I think of freedom. And that's what our society would tell us freedom is. It sounds like that would be fun.
But, then we read words like the ones Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:16, "Live as free people,but do not sue your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves." These words challenge our society's common understanding of freedom. They make me think again about how I define freedom. They change what it means to live truly free.
It's no longer about having no rules or boundaries. It's no longer about being able to do whatever I want without consequences. That's not really freedom anyways.
God has freed us from the power of sin and darkness in our lives. He is continuing to free us from the places Satan has gained some ground in our lives. As long as we are willing to let Him work.
God offers true freedom as a gift. His endless love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness make true freedom possible. We have the choice of accepting the gift or not.
God's freedom means we're no longer bound by rules, by things we should do or not do. Peter's words in this verse remind us that God's freedom means we always have a choice. We can choose to things that please God or we can choose to do evil.
We run into problems when we begin to see God's freedom as an excuse to evil; when we justify doing things we know are wrong by saying that we're free from rules and that God will always forgive us when we ask.
We're not wrong in saying we're not bound to long lists of things we can and cannot do. Or in saying God will always forgive us. Both of those things are true.
But, if we use them as excuses to do what we know is wrong, we've missed what the freedom God offers us really is. We've missed the heart of what it is God desires for us.
True freedom births in us a desire to live lives that please Him - that bring Him honour and glory. This is what Peter is talking about when he says we should live as God's slaves. We are no longer required to live by a certain list of anything, but we choose to live by what God says because of how much He has given us.
We begin to realize the extent of God's loves, mercy, grace, and forgiveness for us and it makes us want to live the way He says is best. We don't have to - we choose to. That is true freedom.