13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:(A) whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong(B) and to commend those who do right.(C)15 For it is God’s will(D) that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.(E)16 Live as free people,(F) but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil;(G) live as God’s slaves.(H)17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers,(I) fear God, honor the emperor.(J)
It seems to some people that submission to authority is an abridgment of freedom. But this is not so. God established governments to bring order and maintain peace in a world of sinful people. It is God's will for his people to humbly submit to every authority instituted among men. He does not want us to yield to our rebellious spirits, for this is not the way of freedom but the way to slavery.
2. Live as free men (16-17)
When we live as servants of God we can be truly free, for freedom comes from creation order in our hearts. When we live as servants of God, we can love the brotherhood of believers--and others as well. We can respect all people and honor those in positions deserving honor.
Prayer: Lord, help me not to use my freedom in Christ as a cover-up for selfishness or thoughtlessness. Help me to obey you from the heart and live as your servant.