Just because the world says something is lawful doesn’t mean it is profitable or good, or that we should partake in it.
1Pe 2:11 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain [apechomai – to hold one’s self off, refrain] from fleshly [sarkikos – fleshly, carnal—having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites, governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God, human: with the included idea of depravity] lusts [epithymia – desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden] which war [strateuō – to make a military expedition] against the soul, having your conduct honorable [kalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable] among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works [ergon – that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking] which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation [episkopē – investigation, inspection].
1Pe 2:13-17 “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
(Additions from the BLB Greek Lexicon http://www.blueletterbible.org/)
My own Paraphrase: Christians, do not give in to your depraved desires. They’ll destroy your life, rather live in a commendable/admirable manner, that when people inspect your life they will not be able to speak evil of you, but rather they will see and worship God. (In living the commendable and admirable then…) consequently, you should want to submit to the rulings of man, which are there for the reprimand of evil and the approval of good. Don’t abuse your freedom as Christian by dismissing the laws of the land, simply because they aren’t God’s laws but rather comply with all that is good.
[Certain laws today, we can submit to (not violate) without partaking in their worldly and fleshly freedoms.] Yet if we do what is not good, we won’t bring glory to God. The will of God is that by doing good…you may bring glory to God; NOT that you obey all ordinances/rulings of man regardless of whether they are good or evil.
Basically, we cannot have both. If we submit to all the ordinances of man while embracing the fleshly lusts, we will not be doing good or glorifying God. Only if we avoid fleshly lusts will we be able to submit to the ordinances of man in a good and God glorifying way.
1Co 10:19-24 “What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?
“Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.”
1Co 10:22-24 “Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful [and]…not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”
Mat 22:37-40 Jesus said…, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law….”
Mar 3:4-6 Then He said to them [the Pharisees], “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted… how they might destroy Him.
Do not despair of victory, for Christ has already won the battle between good and evil. Fight on His side.
Stand for what is good and right, regardless of what the current culture deems lawful. You will be hated, yes, yet “…this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” (1 Peter 2:17)
Challenge: Stand for good, do good, and do not surrender good. For God is good (Matt 19:17), and if you give up good, you give up God.