What does freedom in Christ look like in a world under human authority?
1 Peter 2:13-15 says, "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good for this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honour everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor."
Godly submission to the government is a result of having a right fear of God. Our only ultimate fear in this life is to dishonour God.
All authority comes from God, and we are commanded to submit to Him.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you." -James 4:7
Again, here we are shown that God is the highest authority above all else.
"For from him and through him and to him are all things, To him be glory forever. Amen" -Romans 11:36
It is important to note that Jesus Himself recognised God’s authority and was submissive to it.
In John 4:34, Jesus said His purpose was “to do the will of him who sent me and to finish His work,” and in John 5:30, “I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
Jesus’ entire life was one of submission to His Father, which is shown in the great prayer of submission just before His death. “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” - Matthew 26:3
If we are to be disciples of Christ, we must submit to His authority, just as He submitted to God (Luke 6:46; 14:27).
Since all authority comes from God, we are to submit to anyone who is placed in authority over us. When we do this, we are submitting to God.
There is one exception with us submitting to the authorities on earth, and that is that we submit to them as long as what we submit to does not go against the Word of God (the Bible). Only then do we disregard what authorities are saying (Acts 5:29).
But to rebel against those in authority (when it doesn't conflict with God's Word) means we are rebelling against God.
Here are some other submissions the Bible tells us:
-Christians are told to submit to one another.
-Wives submit to your husbands.
-Young men are told to submit to the elders.
(1 Peter 5:5)
-Children are to submit to (and obey) their parents.
-Submission to our employers.
(1 Peter 2:18)
Ultimately God is the authority and He has established earthly authorities. When we keep ourselves within His framework, God is pleased, and we are able to see Him work on our behalf.
Praise God for the freedom we have through Him!