1 Peter 2:13-16
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;…
The word translated "maliciousness" is a large word. Sometimes it means "cowardice"; sometimes "baseness," It is elsewhere rendered "evil," and (James 1:21) "naughtiness" — which perhaps best conveys the whole sense. "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of anything that is wrong." For instance, there are those who, having found forgiveness, are now walking very carelessly, and do not hold sin in sufficient abhorrence. Still more, there are those who, because they have escaped from one sin, allow themselves in another. As when a man only changes worldly pride for spiritual pride, or gives up carnal indulgence for some religious selfishness, or, worse still, when a man deliberately commits a sin, with a thought: "God will forgive it, as He has forgiven other of my sins. When I have done it I shall pray, and I shall repent, and hear no more about it." Or, more dreadful yet, "I am elect. It does not matter what I do. God does not see sin in His saints." Awful delusion! Or — if "evil" do not go to such a length as that — it may be your religious freedom has made you very severe in your judgment of others. You are "free," but you are not sympathising with those who are doing the very thing which once bound you. You have still almost a "malicious" pleasure in hearing or speaking of somebody's faults! A "free" one should be always so humble in the recollection of his past bondage that he should be tender and gentle to the sin which he once did! But say you have "liberty," how are you using it? All your powers, privileges, hopes; are you consecrating them to do all the good you can to the Lord's "free" men? That serenity of mind that you have now learnt, that ease of heart, that sense of safety, that peace that God has given you, are they held as talents to use for others? All your former experience of the wickedness of the world, is it now being turned to good account? or are you content with your own exemptions, sitting, as indifferent to what may befall your fellow creatures? And is not all that "using liberty as a cloak of maliciousness"? Surely every "free" one should be a liberator!
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;