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Liberty is not a pretext to do evil

1 Peter 2:11-20

Pastor David Ernst

Third Sunday after Easter
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, May 7, 2017 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our epistle for today is very pertinent to our present situation. I want to talk about its application for us.

In catechism class, we speak of the Law and the Gospel. The Law is God's will for our lives. You will find the specific requirements in the 10 Commandments, the summary of them is first, you love the Lord your God and, second, you love your neighbor. However, none of us can fulfill this Law perfectly, because of our rebellious and sinful nature. So we do not deserve the love of God, on the contrary we deserve eternal death. Gospel means "good news" and the good news is God loves us and does not want our condemnation. That is why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to fulfill the Law in our places, to die on the cross in our places and to win for us the promise of eternal life.

We are not saved by obedience to the Law, because we are all disobedient. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Well, what is the purpose of the Law if the Law does not save us? We speak of three purposes of the Law. First, as a brake to restrain the bad deeds of evildoers. This is the charge of civil government, which God instituted and gave authority to use the force of arms to maintain the security of the streets and the integrity of the national border.

Second, the purpose of the Law is like a mirror, to show us our sins and call us to repentance, the unconverted living in sin, and believers when we fall into sin.

There is a third use of the Law for believers. When we have questions about living as children of God in this world, the Law is our measuring-stick. In the epistle, St. Peter speaks to the beloved, strangers and pilgrims in this world, that is, the faithful. And he says thus: "For the sake of the Lord submit yourselves to every human institution, whether king, or superior, and rulers, as though sent by Him for the punishment of the evildoers and the praise of them that do good."

We are pilgrims because our eternal citizenship is in the kingdom of heaven. Our earthly life from baptism to final judgment is like the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, from deliverance from slavery to the Promised Land, so how can we live as children of God in this world?

"As freemen, but not as those who have freedom as a pretext to do evil, but as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brothers. Fear God. Honor the king. "

The Fourth Commandment says, "Honor your father and mother." The first authorities in our lives are our parents. Let us understand this commandment in this way: respect for the authorities, those who have responsibility for us, extends from our parents to our teachers, the police and the civil government. The highest authority for us is God, but we obey the rest for the love of God.

St. Paul says: "Keep your way good among the Gentiles; So that, although they murmur against you as against evildoers, they may glorify God on the day of the visitation, in considering your good deeds. " Our respect for the just ordinances of our country of residence is part of our testimony, which can To change the hearts of those who speak evil of believers.

The question is, then, what should we do when the authorities are unjust and corrupt? How do we live as Christians among political conflicts? If there is violence in the streets, if there is injustice and insecurity, how can we live as children of God? We must obey the authority constituted in all things that conform to the will of God.

As citizens of Venezuela, we are citizens of a republic. We have the right and the responsibility to vote for our representatives, and evaluate and criticize the government when necessary. We should not take vengeance into our own hands, but rather we seek to solve problems without violence. However, we should not keep silent in the face of injustice. It is a human right to denounce injustice according to our conscience.

It is not the role of the church to raise up or depose governments. But, like the church, we must denounce injustice and idolatry. When a party, for example, turns the Our Father into a prayer to #our Chavez”, we must denounce the blasphemy. When they speak of "my eternal commander" or "my eternal friend" who "lives forever," we must say only God is eternal and only Jesus Christ lives forever. At that time of the Roman empire, the empire commanded the people to recognize Caesar as Lord, that is, worship and kneel before Caesar as a god. But, the church shouted, perhaps as its first creed, Christ is Lord!

We are citizens of our country of residence, we are also citzens of the kingdom of heaven, which is not of this world. It is the same with our earthly parents. God is our heavenly Father, but He has given usour biological parents and we are under their authority. We should honor and obey our earthly parents in all things that conform to the will of God. We must not obey them if we are commanded to steal or kill. For us, everything is to glorify God. We have spiritual freedom, that is, the freedom of condemnation for our sins, because of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we want to bear witness in our lives of the love of God for us and for others. In this way let us live as children of God now and forever by the promise of eternal life in which we have the hope and peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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