For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5,6


1 Pet. 2:11-20

   11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. Honor Authority 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God."

Our behavior among the Gentiles! That is a question that's been on the agenda as long as the Gospel has been heard in this world: Is it necessary with good deeds? In other words: Does Christians have to deal with this? I want to ask you: Would you rather let go of?
   There is both a yes- and a no answer to that question. When it comes to our salvation there is no need for any works - not one thing! - the apostle points at that in this passage as you may have heard just as an admonition: "Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil." (v.16).
   As free! He uses the description free, to those he writes to. And what will it say to be free? A strange question, right? But it is necessary to include it. It means to be loosed from all bonds - from all commitments. If the smallest bond binds you to something, you cannot be called free! We can also use the expression, guilt free!
   Just think about the commitments you have in this society we live in - towards your parents, your children, all of your family, towards your employer, or employee, towards the government, taxes and fees etc.
   Even though all illustrations limps a little, let us talk about taxes. One calculated how much tax you would pay in your entire working life, and ended up with a certain amount. Now, someone had the means to pay all of this for you, in one go. You were then free from paying tax for the rest of your life - it was already paid! And the authorities couldn't - at least with any right - demand it to be paid twice.

   But what if this freedom of yours was an offense for someone? What if the way you used your freedom led someone to perish? Yes, well it isn't my problem, you may say. "For why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?" the apostle writes. (1 Cor. 10:29).
   You see, this is how free you are in reality, you who have come to life in God, by Jesus Christ. But the apostle has got a hold of something here - he has gotten an insight in something - namely the love of God that sacrificed everything, for the self-righteous pharisee and the brutal follower of God's congregation would get saved - therefore it was completely unthinkable for him to use his freedom like this. Therefore we see that in the case where the apostle teaches the believers about how they should behave towards meat, that have been sacrificed to the gods, that he makes his freedom count. He does not care about what this meat have been used for - for him there is only one God, but it doesn't stop there for him. Let us read about what he writes i this connection: "However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.-Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble." (1 Cor. 8:7,13).
   This is how love speaks - which is more concerned about achieve and saving others than enjoying his own freedom!

   We find a very good object teaching in an event in the life of Jesus here on earth - it is Peter who is required to be held account concerning the temple tax. "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?" they asked. He whi is a Jew, doesn't he pay this tax to the temple? An then Peter answer: "Yes." But then we want to ask: Did he need to pay tax? That is Peter. Listen to what happens when He comes into the house, as it says: "Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers? "When Peter said, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are exempt."
   Here you have the answer to that question! Which is about what we are talking about now - our subject if you like.
   But then notice what Jesus says further on: "However, so that we do not offend them," - that is, for their sake! - "go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me." (Mt. 17:24-27).
   Listen, you are free not to, but to avoid offense, do it anyway!

   You become an example for others when you do what God wants! And then someone may jump in their chair - but Jesus warned against this, to walk around and do things to be seen by men. But that wasn't what i said! I said: When you do what God wants! When you are concerned about that which is right for God! And not to put yourself as an example to others! Do you see the difference here, or are you spiritual nearsighted?
   I am free - i am completely free! I am even bought free! If Jesus have paid for me all the way, what is then left? This has to be both serious and real for you!
   Do you know what happens to me, when i live like that? I get a really great Christian life after a while? No, at least not in my own eyes, or my own acknowledgment - i really get a heartfelt need for Jesus, as the God's Lamb that carries the sin of the world, and then i get to be happy in the truth that He really is!
   It isn't hard to do it then you know - when you are free! To be able to live in the admission of and truth, that you're really free! But if this burdens you as commitments that God depends on in your relationship to you - it becomes very hard. Then you move towards the law, and it's curse!

   Here are those who strive, because they don't have the light on knowing what's right in these things, and that is tragic - but more tragic is when people get satisfied on this road. When they think they manage to create a good Christian life, and can be examples for others, perhaps even good examples, even though in their assumed humility don't want to say it that way. And they don't know that they walk under a curse! They walk under punishment! They are offenders! You have a whole lot of rules and commandments you live after - alright, but you haven't done what the law requires, by that! They don't understand it until this sword that has hung over them this whole time, suddenly hits them!

   "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution," we read.(v.13).
   It was this that has already been mentioned: For the sake of God!
   "Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God." (v.16).
   You hear that in these verses, submit and do not are used. It sounds like a new commandment - which means a impalpable demand! But what about the freedom then? Where did it go? Again: The one who has the least bond on him are not completely free! Are you not completely free, by the work that Jesus did, it isn't a complete work!
   We have to go back to the word of Jesus to Peter again to find out about this: "However so that we do not offend them-" Do as I tell you to Peter. But first after confirming for Peter that he as a son in his house is free!

   I really get the urge to pray: May God give us eyes to see!


Holy Bible, New American Standard Version
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart