Saturday, June 8, 2013

Christian Liberty

Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Gal 5:1  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Gal 5:13  For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Gal 5:14  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

The meaning of Christian liberty and how it relates to OT Law and obedience to Christ has been debated ever since Christ started the church.  While I image there will never be a full consensus on all the particulars, the subject is treated fairly often in the NT and is important for a Christian to have a general idea of what Christian liberty means.  So let me add my two cents worth.

I see the topic covering three main areas.  First of all we are free from the condemnation of the Law through faith in Christ alone.  The OT proves that man cannot obey God because of the fall and is therefore in a state of enmity with God and condemned and is powerless in himself to do anything about it.  The Good News is that Christ has kept the law for us and so we are free from the futile work of trying to please God on our own.

Secondly, we are free from the Mosaic Law with all its restrictions because most of them were types and shadows that are fulfilled in Christ.  Paul says more than once that all things are ours but goes on to say that they are ours to serve the Lord with not fleshly desires.  So we are no longer under the restrictions of the Mosaic Law as a system of living because there is a better way, “a new and living way”, that serves the Lord better.  Briefly this new way can be summed up as follows.

The third and perhaps most important thing to consider especially for a Christian wanting to know how to serve the Lord is that one must always keep before him that Christian freedom means that he has been freed from the dominion of sin so that he can serve Christ.  We have not been freed from sin’s dominion so that we can continue to sin (read Romans 6); that would ruin the very reason God saves us to begin with.

Let me illustrate this kind of freedom in a way I find helpful.  Because my sins are forgiven in Christ and he has promised that they will never be held against me and I will enjoy the Lord forever and nothing can change this, I am free in the following ways:

I am free not to retaliate but to love instead when someone does me wrong, treats me unfairly, steals from me or abuses me in any number of ways.  I am free to do this because God has promised to make all things right.  He has promised to give me infinitely more than anyone can take away from me in this life.  Therefore I can let such things pass just like I wouldn’t care if someone stole a rock from me when I have a warehouse full of gold.

I am free from having to be addicted to the things of this life that please the flesh but hurt me and dishonor the Lord because I have Christ which satisfies much more and much longer than anything this world has to offer. 

I am free not to get angry when things don’t go the way I would like because God has promised me that it is all going to work out for my ultimate good, so be patient. 

I am free to give you whatever I have if you need it because my God shall supply all my needs in Christ Jesus my Lord. 

I am free to be patient in suffering because joy comes in the morning and because God has promised that I shall be made a better child of God through these difficulties.

For these same reasons I can be free from worry, free from depression and despair, and free from having the miserable relationships with others that those who live only for themselves are destined to have. 

You get the idea; we have been freed from all the misery of sin’s dominion so that we can use all things to enjoy Christ and enjoy one another and enjoy true life.  If we think of Christian liberty like this the rest will take care of itself. 

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