1 Peter 2:16-17 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
The Bible is so intensely down-to-earth and practical! This particular bit seems directly aimed at Americans, who love and tout their freedom. Peter is saying, “Yes you are free, BUT.” As has been said, one person’s freedom to swing their fist ends where another person’s nose begins. We who are so eager for freedom need to, as the Japanese puts it, “use that freedom as slaves of God.” The current COVID-19 business is a good illustration. We are to wear masks, not for our own sake, but out of respect for those around us, since we might be asymptomatic carriers. “Fear God, honor the king” means that we are to obey the rules, but know that God is ultimately in command, and as Peter said before the Sanhedrin, obey Him even if man says otherwise. (Acts 5:29) Recently the devil and those listening to him have been making use of the virus to clamp down on believers in ways that have little to do with public safety. Legal recourse and even civil disobedience are called for there, but always with respect. We see far too many people acting selfishly, demanding their freedom regardless of the cost to others, but the flip side is those who would deny freedom for ideological reasons. Neither is right, or pleasing to God. We need to speak and act as God’s servants, His slaves, expressing His love and justice for His glory.
Though I live in Japan, I follow what is going on in the US, and since I am registered to vote in Virginia, it breaks my heart to see and hear some of what is going on there. I keep telling myself, “this too shall pass,” but it does provoke some pretty intense intercession at times. The good thing is that the masks are off, and evil is plainly exposed. (That’s rather ironic when physical masks are the order of the day!) I am to pray that God’s children be protected and supplied, and find their refuge in God alone. I am to pray that they wake up and recognize what is going on, and when this is over, not go back to “normal” but be alert and on fire as God’s agents, so that His kingdom may come as His will is done. I need to pray the same thing for the Church in Japan. We don’t have church-specific regulations here, but believers certainly need to be more aware of the place God intends for them in the world. We too need to be awake and active, bringing in the harvest that God desires, for the salvation of multitudes and His glory.
Father, thank You for this clear Word. Help me not just agree with it and fail to act, deceiving myself. (James 1:22) May I be faithful in prayer, faithful in word, faithful in action, so that Your will may be done for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!