CHRISTIAN LIBERTY PART 3

CLARIFYING SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FREEDOM

1. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOTAL, ABSOLUTE, UNRESTRICTED FREEDOM IN THIS WORLD. I hate to burst your bubble, but this is the real world, not a dream world. No one is totally, absolutely, 100 % free. Everyone has free will. But no one has total, absolute freedom.

We live in a democracy that is the freest nation in the world today. Yet, we’re governed by so many specific laws that it’s obvious we’re not free to do anything or everything that we jolly well please. The laws, police, court system, and penal institutions, are proof that no one is free to do whatever he wants to do.

As goes the nation, so goes the church. No Christian is totally free to live and do as he or she pleases. No Christian lives without Divine Law or restraint. We all live under God’s Law. Just like living in a free nation, we’re free even though we have laws—including God’s laws—that  govern us. We’re free. Just not as free as we’d like—that is, 100% free without any kind of restraint, law, or threat of punishment. There is no such freedom in the created order. Only God is totally, absolutely free. Everyone else—from Satan, to demons, to angels, to mankind—live free, but under God’s laws.

2. FREEDOM FROM MEN’S RELIGIOUS LAWS OR THE LAW DOESN’T FREE YOU FROM OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD.  Since Christ set us free from the Law and from men’s religious laws as a basis for salvation or righteousness; so many people automatically think or assume that they don’t have to obey God’s Word. They equate obedience with bondage to law, legalism, and works salvation.  Freedom thus becomes the freedom not to obey God; the freedom to do as they please. Obedience, whenever it’s undesirable or inconvenient, is explained away and disobedience justified with the oft-repeated, tired refrain, “I’m free. I’m not under the law.”

CHRISTIAN FREEDOM, BRETHREN, IS NOT THE FREEDOM TO DISOBEY GOD. Just because Christ set us free from the law as a means of salvation or righteousness doesn’t mean we don’t have to obey the Word anymore. FREEDOM DOESN’T RELIEVE US OF THE DUTY TO OBEY GOD.

The Old Testament Law required obedience. When we come to the New Testament, we find that God still requires obedience of His people. What did Jesus say to the rich young ruler who wanted to know what he had to do to inherit eternal life? If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17).

This theme of obedience runs throughout the entire New Testament and it’s one of the very last things God warned us about in the Bible: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city (Revelation 22:14). You see, obedience is required of all those who would enter into Heaven.

Disobedience, even in the guise of Christian liberty, disqualifies us from Heaven. Jesus made this quite clear when He said in Matthew 7:21-23, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

ONE OF THE HARDEST TRUTHS FOR PEOPLE TO GRASP OR RECEIVE IS THE TRUTH THAT FREEDOM (THAT IS, CHRISTIAN FREEDOM) IS NOT THE LIBERTY OR RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER WE WANT TO DO. IT’S NOT THE LIBERTY OR RIGHT TO DO AS WE PLEASE.

It all goes back to the failure of people to see the distinction between freedom and free will (see Christian Liberty Part 1). Free will is the liberty to make our own choices or decisions. We can choose whatever we want to choose.

But freedom is the power or ability to obey God. You see, when we were enslaved to Satan and sin we couldn’t obey God. We lacked the willingness and power, or ability, to obey God. The sin nature of the old man had no desire for godly obedience. But when Christ saved us, He set us free from Satan’s power and He changed us. He made a new man out of us. He washed the old  sin nature away. He gave us a new nature of righteousness and holiness (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24). He gave us something we didn’t have before and that is the desire to obey God.

With a new nature and with freedom itself, God gave us the liberty and power to do what we formerly couldn’t do, and that is, obey Him. Romans 6:18-22 reads, Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.  (19)  Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.  (20)  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right.  (21)  And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom.  (22)  But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.

WHEN CHRIST SAVED US HE ENDED SIN’S TYRANNY OVER US. HE GAVE US WHAT WE DIDN’T HAVE BEFORE, NAMELY, HE GAVE US THE FREEDOM TO OBEY GOD. That’s what freedom is: the freedom to obey God.

In the world in which we live, a person is either free or slave. He can only be one or the other. But the paradox of Christian freedom is, A CHRISTIAN IS INDEED FREE, BUT HE BECOMES, AND REMAINS, A SLAVE TO GOD AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. It’s a paradox to the natural mind, but a spiritual truth nonetheless. A Christian is both free and a slave at the same time, Romans 6:22.

Now if you understand the truth that you were a slave of sin even though you had free will, then you will have no problem comprehending the truth that you are now a slave of God even though you still have free will. Brethren, NO ONE IS TRULY FREE. WE ALL BELONG TO SOMEONE, EITHER SATAN OR GOD. A PERSON IS EITHER A SLAVE OF SIN OR A SLAVE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE’S EITHER A SLAVE OF SATAN OR A SLAVE OF GOD. WE ALL—BOTH SAVED AND UNSAVED—ARE SLAVES. NO ONE IS TRULY FREE FROM DOMINION, OWNERSHIP, OR RULE. We all have free will, both saved and unsaved alike. But we’re all still slaves–either of Satan or of God.

You see, when Christ set us free from Satan and sin, He set us free to become His slave. Romans 6:18, ye became the slaves of righteousness.;  Romans 6:22, ye are become slaves of God. Whereas once we were slaves of Satan and sin, Christ set us free and now–even though we’re free–we’re slaves to doing the right thing and living the righteous life. FREEDOM, BRETHREN, IS NOT THE FREEDOM TO DO AS WE PLEASE: IT’S THE FREEDOM TO OBEY GOD AND DO THE THINGS THAT PLEASE HIM.

Does your freedom make you obey God or does it make you disobey Him? After you’ve exercised your freedom, are you in obedience to God or are you in disobedience to Him? Brethren, no matter how you choose to define and use your freedom, freedom is not the freedom to sin: it’s the freedom to obey God and not sin.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 4. More misconceptions about freedom. Thought-provoking. Controversial. But right and true. Pop in and I’ll prove it.

2 Comments

  1. queenlorene said,

    January 19, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    Ive never had this topic presented this way before. Very thought provoking. Christianity is fixated in our Age of Grace, we have been set free. But the other side, which you so eloquently expressed above, is shoved under the carpet of easy Christianity. Yes, our Original Sin makes us a slave to something until the Day of Judgment. And, BTW, I do tell people that God is limited as well. He cannot sin. So He can relate to our limitations, as it is as much a Chasm for Him as it is for us.

  2. February 7, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    […] what I blogged in my third installment in this series on Christian Liberty. There is no such thing as total, absolute freedom. Every […]


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