"The only reason I said that was because you..."
"I wouldn't have done that if you would have..."
"It's your fault that I had to say..."
Have you heard these phrases before? Better yet, said them? Even if I haven't said them I've repeated them in my head while trying to justify my sin because of something that someone else did. Our actions and words are very much a reflection of what we think our "position" should be according to today's self-entitled culture. Today's culture tells us that we have to be the best, be first, have the most. It is important, if not essential, for us to be on top at work and in relationships. This drive serves as that very foundation where we justify sin and point the finger elsewhere rather than taking responsibility for a lack of... submission. Wait a minute? Submission? I sin because I refuse to submit? That's right, you heard it correctly. In Romans 8:7, Paul says "the mind set on the flesh is hostile towards God; for it does not subject (submit) itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." Our self-entitled desire to justify sinful words and actions stems from a mind set on the flesh, a mind set on serving ourselves first. Pushing others aside for the sake of self-promotion and self-preservation is the way of the world. We won't be the first or the last to do it, but the cause of such sin is our lack of submission to God's will.
1 Peter 2:13-17 says, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king."
Peter starts this section by commanding submission to every human institution and ends it by a request to submit to an obligation (to God's will) to honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king. We are to submit ourselves to God's will. What does it mean to submit? To submit means to yield or to place under. We are to yield or place ourselves under God's will. God's will is for us is to yield to our duty to honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king.
Why do we struggle with that so much? Why does our culture hate the word submit? We struggle with placing ourselves underneath God's will because our human desire and every part of our modern culture tells us that we are entitled to be on top. That's why we justify sin by the actions of others that "caused" us to act or speak sinfully. That's why we fail to honor political leaders, employers, and anyone in a position of authority. It's obviously our right to speak out against them in any given opportunity. The world's position on submission obviously contradicts God's word; why does the bible tell us we should submit then? Verse 13 says that we are to submit for the sake of the Lord. Verse 16 goes on to say that we have given freedom not so that we use it as our excuse to sin, but rather so we can choose to submit and be bondslaves to God. We have been given the freedom to submit, not to slander, accusate or point our finger at someone else.
What will you use our freedom for today? Wilful service to Christ or selfish justification of petty sin? Remember, God purchased our redemption with the blood of His son Jesus Christ (1 Cor 6:20). Live your life knowing the sacrifice that was made so that you could be given freedom.
Based on April 5 sermon notes taken from Way of Grace Pastor, Bryce Morgan.