CHRISTIAN LIBERTY PART 4

CLARIFYING SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FREEDOM

PART II

2. JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE FREE WILL TO DO SOMETHING DOESN’T AUTOMATICALLY MEAN YOU HAVE THE FREEDOM TO DO IT. This is another difficult concept to grasp and I pray God help you understand and accept it. If you understand the difference between freedom and free will you’ll be better able to understand the truth I’m trying to present here.

As a free moral creature, endowed by God with free will, you’re free to fornicate. Free to cheat on your taxes. Free to rob a bank. Free to do a million and one things because you’ve got the power and ability to choose for yourself and make your own decisions.

But as a Christian who knows God’s Word, you realize you’re not free to do these things because God has prohibited them in His Word. He commands you not to do them. Consequently, as an obedient Christian, you don’t do them.

You see, you can go ahead and do these forbidden things if you want to: you have the free will to do them. But you don’t do them because God forbids it. And since He forbids it, you understand that you don’t have the God-given freedom to do them. You have the free will to do them, but you don’t have the freedom to do them.

God’s commandments, you see, restrict the freedoms that humankind and flesh would otherwise love to have. While we don’t have the freedom to do a million and one things that self and flesh would love to do, nevertheless, the greater and more precious freedom that we do have is the freedom not to give in to sin, self, and the flesh.

Brethren, we’ve got the greatest freedom of all and that is the freedom to obey God and do the right thing. Without Christ in our lives we wouldn’t have that freedom. We would be enslaved to sin. We would spend our eternity in hell. Praise God we have the freedom to do what we couldn’t do before, and that is, obey and please God–not ourselves.

3. Another hard concept for people to grasp is the fact that EXERCISING YOUR FREEDOM DOESN’T AUTOMATICALLY MAKE YOU RIGHT. You see, in the natural realm, if you’re free to do something, then it isn’t wrong for you to do it. For example,

  • If you’re free to own a car, then you can own a car and you wouldn’t be breaking any law to own your own car.
  • If you’re free to adopt the religion of your choice, then you can practice whatever religion you want to without interference or persecution from the State. You wouldn’t be doing anything illegal to practice whatever religion you want to practice.
  • If your parents give you the freedom to date, then you wouldn’t be breaking your parents’ rules when you go out on a date because your parents don’t have any such rules against dating. You wouldn’t be doing anything wrong as far as they’re concerned.

Do you see what I mean? The freedom to do something in the natural automatically presupposes you would be right in doing it. You wouldn’t be breaking any laws. You wouldn’t be wrong for doing something that you’re free to do.

Brethren, no matter how you define freedom, when you use your freedom and/or your free will to disobey God, then what results is an act of sin and disobedience. Even though you were free to make that choice, you would be wrong for disobeying God.

Take Eve for an example. Eve was free to either eat the forbidden fruit or not eat it: it was her choice to make. The moment she ate that fruit she disobeyed God. The act of eating was an act of disobedience, she freely chose to disobey, and that act of disobedience was sin. In other words, an act of free will or freedom can also be an act of disobedience.

The same thing can also be said with respect to genuine Christian freedom. An act of freedom can also be an act of disobedience. For example, when you use your freedom to drink wine to become drunk or become an alcoholic and a drunkard, then you’ve used a legitimate freedom to disobey God’s prohibition against drunkenness. Do you see how you can use your freedom to disobey God? Brethren, WHEN YOU USE YOUR FREEDOM OR FREE WILL TO DISOBEY GOD, YOU’RE NO LONGER RIGHT. YOU’RE WRONG AND YOU’RE IN DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD.

Brethren, DON’T BASE THE RIGHTNESS OR WRONGNESS OF AN ACTION ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU’RE FREE TO DO IT. Just because you’re free to do something doesn’t automatically mean you’re right to do it. An act of free will or freedom can also be an act of disobedience.

Coming Up On My Next Blog, Part 5. More food for thought as I discuss another misconception of freedom. It’ll be crucifying, so bring your cross. God’ll have the nails and hammer.

CHRISTIAN LIBERTY PART 1

INTRODUCTION

Freedom is one of the most precious things that we human beings possess. God created us as free moral creatures. That is, He created us with the ability to make our own choices in life, to make our own decisions without being forced or compelled to do anything against our will. In theology and philosophy, this precious freedom to choose or make our own decisions is called ‘free will’.

To be sure, God makes all kinds of demands on our lives. The Bible is filled with laws, rules, principles, commandments, exhortations, admonitions, do’s and don’ts that God wants us to obey and live by.

But the bottom line is, none of us have to obey God if we don’t want to. God doesn’t force us to obey Him. If we don’t want to obey Him, God honors that. He lets us disobey Him. He doesn’t stop us from disobeying Him. He  abides by the decisions we make.

God, I am saying, gave us free will. He  lets us make our own decisions. He doesn’t force His will upon us.

THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN FREEDOM AND FREE WILL

Freedom is defined and understood in so many different ways. We all have our ideas about what we’re free to do.

What exactly is freedom? What is Christian liberty? Is freedom the God-given right to do as we please? Undoubtedly, this is how many of God’s people understand freedom. For them, freedom is the right to do as we please. The right to live any way we please.

But this, brethren, is not how the Bible defines freedom!

Before we get to the Biblical definition of freedom, I think it’s helpful to make a very important distinction between freedom and free will. The two terms are often confused and used synonymously, which is the reason why so many of God’s people have liberties that we know aren’t right or aren’t theirs to have.

Free will, as I said earlier, is the power or ability to make our own decisions. This includes the decision to disobey God and do whatever we please. For example, let us suppose that we choose to fornicate. We want to fornicate. Now if we equate freedom with free will, then what we have as a result is the freedom to fornicate. That is, since we’re free to choose; and since we choose to fornicate; then we automatically conclude that we have the freedom to fornicate.

But instinctively, for the true child of God, we know that this isn’t what freedom is all about.  There’s something perverted about this kind of logic or reasoning.

FREEDOM IS NOT THE SAME THING AS FREE WILL. THEY’RE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. JUST BECAUSE WE’RE MORALLY FREE TO MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS DOESN’T MEAN WE’RE FREE AS CHRISTIANS TO DO WHATEVER WE WANT TO DO.

What, then, is freedom? What does our liberty encompass?

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 2. I look at the Biblical meaning of freedom. Chances are, it’s not what you think. So drop by and find out. I’ll save a chair for you.