“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution. . . . Live as people who are free” (1 Peter 2:13, 16). Isn’t it remarkable that subjection and freedom are so in tension here? They’re in tension, but they’re not in contradiction. Free people don’t subject or submit. Yes, they do, but they submit totally different.
When you submit to the speed limit, you should be worshiping God. This is convicting because none of you do keep the speed limit. But on your best days, the peace of God is reigning in your heart and you’re not anxious about getting there thirty seconds earlier. Do the math sometime. Going sixty-five in a fifty-five for five miles, gets you there thirty seconds earlier. Is it worth God’s disapproval?
Okay, it’s not about speed limit, but sort of. The governors are sent by him to punish, that is, give nice, big fines, to people who break the speed limit. You can rationalize that whatever way you want, but my point is, if God gives you the grace to submit to the speed limit, you shouldn’t be doing that because of the Alabama legislature. You should be doing that because of God.
For the Lord’s sake, submit. For the Lord’s sake. If you’re doing it for the Lord’s sake, it’s worship. If you’re doing it for the Lord’s sake, you’re saying something about the Lord. And I hope it’s not, “He’s going to whip me. He’s a hard taskmaster. This yoke is hard, and this burden is heavy.” If that’s the way you talk or obey, you’re probably not a Christian.
His burden is light. His yoke is easy. When he says keep the speed limit, it’s because it’s a testimony to how free you are. You are not craving.
Why do people break laws? Cravings. “I have to have it my way! I don’t like this stupid speed limit!” It’s all selfishness. It’s all ego. It’s all non-freedom. You’re not free. You’re not free when you break the law. You’re in bondage to your cravings. “I have to get there. I have to be first. I hate being late. Everybody’s passing me.” That’s all ego. All cravings. All desire. You’re not free. You’re in bondage.
The free man has his cruise control set at fifty-five, and he’s worshiping Jesus. Happy, peaceful, get there whenever he says. Long traffic jam? Patience is a gift of the Holy Spirit. You might laugh because it’s so rare. It’s just so wonderfully true.
Look at the Book is John Piper’s latest effort to help teach people to read the Bible for themselves. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher.
As part of this initiative, Desiring God is putting on regional events focused on certain passages of Scripture. Below, you can find all the video from our Look at the Book weekend on 1 Peter 2–3. The clip above is from Part 7: Submit to Laws for the Lord’s Sake (1 Peter 2:13–17).
Lessons on Living as Exiles
Part 1: A Realistic Book About Life Today (Overview)
Part 2: Getting Started in 1 Peter (1 Peter 1:1–2)
Part 3: Imperishable, Undefiled, and Unfading (1 Peter 1:3–7)
Part 4: The Mind Serves the Heart (1 Peter 1:8–16)
Part 5: Faith and Fear Produce Love (1 Peter 1:17–2:12)
Part 6: Your Desires Want to Kill You (1 Peter 2:9–12)
Part 7: Submit to Laws for the Lord’s Sake (1 Peter 2:13–17)
Part 8: The Marks of Free People (1 Peter 2:13–17)
Part 9: The Horror and Hope in Slavery (1 Peter 2:18–20)
Part 11: Christ Returned Good for Your Evil (1 Peter 2:21–25)
Part 12: The Beauty and Behavior of a Godly Woman (1 Peter 3:1–6)
Part 13: What Is Submission in Marriage? (1 Peter 3:1–6)
Part 14: Men, Love and Lead Your Wives (1 Peter 3:7)