I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV) Imagine three people on a plane....
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. 1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)
The fascinating thing about this statement is that Peter was NOT writing to believers who were living in a democracy! They were living in the Roman Empire, a totalitarian state.
Just two years after Peter wrote this letter, the infamous Emperor Nero launched a violent persecution against Christian believers. He was the one who covered Christians in pitch and burned them as torches at his garden parties.
Not only were these people oppressed by the state, they also suffered injustice and exploitation at work. Some of these people were slaves (2:18). The Bible gives no support whatsoever to slavery. But what it does do is give wise and practical counsel to believers who are living in situations of injustice and exploitation and have no reasonable hope of getting out of it.
The Bible speaks to the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. It speaks to those who are oppressed and exploited. It speaks to those who suffer terrible abuse and injustice.
Some of these people were struggling with difficulties in marriage. It seems that in the early church there were a number of women who had come to faith in Christ and their husbands had not. This meant that there was a mismatch at the most fundamental level.
So here we have God speaking to people who are oppressed by the state, exploited at work, and are facing great difficulties at home. And Peter writes to them about freedom!
Are you living like a free person? Why or why not?