1 Pet 2:15,16
INTRO: In so much I read I find attention drawn to what some writers call the paradoxes of Christianity. For example, it is paradoxical that the Savior of humanity should have died as a common criminal. Or it is paradoxical for the Lord to have said that the greatest in the kingdom is he who is the least. Indeed, Christianity is a faith which looks at things in a very different way from that of the world. In the text before us is present a paradox of freedom that is a slavery.
I. WE ARE FREE 2:16a
A. Certainly, Christians are free great N.T. message
1. Jno 8:32 that freedom is Jesus promise
2. Gal 5:1 it is a freedom to be jealously maintained
B. Now, from what are Christians freed?
1. Rom 6:18 from guilt, dominion of sin
2. Gal 5:1,2 from law of Moses with its ordinances and strictures
3. Acts 8:9-11 with 19:19 from the superstition and bondage of heathenism
C. Yet, there is a new element in this word...
1. free to obey God, to choose the good, to live to do Gods will 1 Pet 4:2
2. so, when free is used of Christians, it always includes the limitation of the mind of Christ (v.16c)
II. DANGERS OF FREEDOM 2:16b
A. That of going to the other extreme ... license
1. Ill just be able to do as I please
2. in reaction there is always this danger
3.1 Cor 9:25 an important general life rule
B. That of denying law has any place in Christian life
1. we are under grace and not law is often heard
2. basic misapprehensions about what grace is and from what law we are freed! note Rom 6:1,2
3. Gal 6:2; 1 Cor 11:2; 1 Jno 3:4 law!
C. That of ignoring well being of others
1. what I do is my business epitome of selfishness
2. 1 Cor 10:24, 28-33 not seeking mine own profit
3. Rom 14:14-16 important commentary of the true meaning of freedom in Christ ... consider the needs, the faith, the good of another!
D. That of being in harsh bondage
1. some folks who believe they are free from law to do as they please are in fact helpless slaves
2. alcoholics, addicts, the debauched are in abject slavery
3. yes, there are dangers in freedom
III. HOW CHRISTIANS MAY USE THEIR FREEDOM 2:15
A. In well doing ... but what does that entail?
1. in the context: to be law abiding (v.13) to be a person of good works (v.12), to be morally, ethically and spiritually pure (v.11)
2. Titus 3:8 it is generally a life of goodness (note Heb 13:16)
3. it is a life which is concerned about others
B. And a probable serendipity?
1. critics will be silenced!
2. the ignorance here is wilful, persistent these critics dont even want to know about or understand faith in Christ ... they are just badly motivated (foolish) critics (2 Pet 2:12)
3. the word for silence means to muzzle! just as a vicious dog is rendered harmless by muzzling, vicious critic are rendered harmless by Christians goodness!
C. This Is the will of God
1. God knows that this is a practical plan
2. and while we may not always see immediate results, God says do it ... and it will finally work
3. Rom 12:21 another principle of Christian life
CLOSE: So, we are free to obey God, to do good and be responsibly concerned about making a positive impact on others.
Cecil A. Hutson
05 August 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)