by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5 November 15, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
1901 ASV Translation:
16 as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.
17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
I. Peter's Enormous Contrast: FreeSlaves.
A. Obviously Peter saw no "problem" with his terminology.
1. He said we were to "submit" as "free men".
2. He said our submission was to be that of "slaves of God".
B. However, his terminology does call for some clear thinking.
1. If we are under a "submission" mandate, in what sense are we "free"?
2. If we are actually "slaves" of God, in what sense are we "free men"?
C. Toward some answers...
1. "Freedom" is not an absolute concept; it is a relative one. God is presented in the Scriptures as incapable of sin (He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), nor is He "tempted" by sin (James 1:13)). This has to mean that evenGod is not boundlessly free. What this does, then, is introduce a need for a definition of "freedom" that has no problems with "boundaries".
2. Interestingly, the Scriptures use "freedom" in the contexts of "dominion by others". Freedom is being unaffected (in an adverse way) by the efforts of others to dominate us. This pretty much, then, has to mean that "freedom" is an internal reality to the "free" person. This "internal reality" is the ability to "live" in the face of any external issue. In a physical universe, "bondage" is, ultimately, only "physical" based upon the lack of "power". Since another is more physically powerful than I, I become subject to that other's use of power. However, since physical power can only affect physical phenomena, no one can actually "subject" the soul/spirit of another. Only the individual can so tie his/her material existence to his/her soul or spirit in such a way as to become "enslaved". Thus, true freedom is freedom from the necessity to preserve the material. Once I am free from the necessity to preserve my material being, I am free from the contraints of others, and, thus, "free" in the biblically defined sense. This is the reason "believers" are never said to be anything other than "servants" of God. His dominion is not "physical" through the imposition of power. His dominion is "spiritual" through the revelation of persuasion (Truth). In the final analysis, Truth always reveals Love and Love always sets one totally free from the dominion of another because Love cares nothing at all for being free from the dominion of others. Love seeks the best interests of others at any cost. Love meets the impositions of others with the most sincere desire to make the lives of those others more "free". Thus, the "free" person serves the "bound" with the goal of setting the "bound" free.