In my last post I wrote that there are two times when it would be sinful and wrong for you to do what you’re free to do. I dealt with the first one. Now comes the second.

B) IT’S WRONG FOR YOU TO USE YOUR FREEDOM IN WAYS THAT ISN’T EDIFYING YOU.  Just as your exercise of freedom can have an adverse effect on others, so in like manner, your freedom can have an adverse effect on you.

Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 10:23, All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable; all things are lawful for me, but not all things are edifying, constructive, or good. 

In other words, NOT EVERYTHING THAT’S LAWFUL OR LEGAL IS EDIFYING OR GOOD. NOT EVERYTHING THAT’S PERMISSIBLE IS PROFITABLE.  We may not want to admit it, so I’ll admit it and say it for all of us. Some freedoms have an adverse effect upon us.

Believe it or not, not everybody watches television or movies. Let me go on record here and say that I laud those who have no interest in what Hollywood dishes out. I don’t like the self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and pride that many of these Hollywood abstainers exhibit. But, in the main, I know they’re on to something. It is this simple fact and reality of life, namely, what you watch can affect you the wrong way. Of course, the opposite is likewise true. I’ve been incredibly inspired and encouraged by some of the movies I’ve watched. But since we’re talking about the things that are not profitable or edifying, let me blog about the adverse effects that television programs and movies have on some, if not many, people.

You watch a program that has a lot of cussing and profanity. At first, it offends you because Christians aren’t supposed to talk that way (Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 3:8, 4:6). But the storyline and the humor mesmerizes you, so you continue watching the filth. Before long, you find yourself watching more and more of the same. In time, you get to a point where the profanity no longer bothers you. It’s an acceptable form of speech. And, before you know it, you find yourself cussing. Hollywood’s changed you and soiled a portion of the  righteous garment that you’re supposed to be wearing as a Christian.

No, it’s not Hollywood’s fault. It’s yours. You watched. And kept on watching. And you allowed yourself to be changed and soiled by the freedom you indulged in. You just proved what Paul said. You may be free to do a lot of things, but not everything that you’re free to do is good for you. It doesn’t help or benefit you. It doesn’t make you a better witness, a better Christian, a better person.

We can talk about programs and movies laced with fornication, adultery, sex, and skin. There again, you know that fornication and adultery are forbidden and sinful. But the storyline’s compelling, so you end up watching the whole movie. Then you watch another. Then another. And, before you even realize what’s happened to you, fornication doesn’t bother you anymore. Everybody’s doing it. It’s the new reality. It’s the world in which we live today. What other people do is none of your business. Or anyone else’s business. You dabble in fornication yourself. You like it. I mean, who doesn’t like sex? Who doesn’t enjoy it? We all do. In time, you justify and defend what you once was convinced was sinful and wrong. You’ve taken a stance against God on this point. You’re at odds with His “rigid, puritanical” prohibitions concerning love and sex. You’ve undergone a transformation. What you watch has changed you. You’ve proven God and the Bible right. Not everything that you’re free to do is good for you.

I can talk about a lot of other freedoms that haven’t had a good influence or effect on many of God’s people. I can talk about contemporary music, alcohol, nicotine, credit cards, fads, fashions, and more. I’m not on a crusade to ban, outlaw, or deprive any of God’s people of their freedoms. I’m not a legalist. All I’m saying is what God, the Scriptures, and human experience all testify, namely, while we may be free to do some things, or all things; nevertheless, not everything that we’re free to do is good for us.


Remember what I blogged in my third installment in this series on Christian Liberty. There is no such thing as total, absolute freedom. Every freedom has its limits, restrictions, rules, or laws. For example, we’re free to drive a car and own guns. But, as you well know, there are so many rules and laws that limit or govern these freedoms.

In the spiritual realm, some people don’t like the use of words like rules, laws, or do’s and dont’s because we live in an age of grace, not law. So instead of using these freedom-limiting words, let me say that God has tempered or balanced our freedom with His will. His will is the Bible in its entirety.

One of the limiters that God’s placed on our freedom is self-control. It’s one of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23 (KJV temperance). Self-control is the power and ability to restrain oneself. To be temperate. Moderate. Self-control doesn’t rob you of the freedom to do something, assuming, of course, that sin isn’t involved. We’re talking about legitimate freedoms, not sins. Self-control doesn’t rob you, deprive you, or prevent you from doing the things you’re free to do. It simply tells you that if you’re going to do something that’s legitimate or permissible, then you’ll better do it in moderation. You’d better be able to stop when you’re going too far and the freedom’s becoming unhealthy, unedifying, and unbeneficial for you.

Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 6:12, All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved or controlled by anything. Paul was free. But he had something that was greater than freedom and it was this thing that kept him free, namely, self-control. Paul wouldn’t let anything, any freedom, control him and adversely affect him.

Why is that? Because he knew that unrestricted, unrestrained freedom can lead you back into slavery and sin. Freedom without controls can make you a slave to sin.

SELF-CONTROL IS WHAT KEEPS THIS FROM HAPPENING: IT’S WHAT KEEPS YOUR FREEDOM FROM MAKING YOU A SLAVE OF SIN. Paul knew when to engage in a freedom and when not to. We’ve got to learn this for ourselves.

In summary, what I’ve been trying to say in this post is,  just because we’re free to do some things doesn’t automatically mean we should do them. Why not? Because not everything that we’re free to do is edifying us. Not everything has an edifying effect on us.  Some freedoms have an adverse effect on us. And we’ve got to have enough sense, and power or strength, to personally and voluntarily abstain and refrain from the freedoms that don’t do us any good. It’s called self-control…for the sake of edifying ourself. 

When Paul says all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved or controlled by anything; he’s telling us in no uncertain terms that edification is everything. It’s greater than freedom. Whatever we do, or don’t do, has got to edify us.

Brethren, there’s something greater, something more important, than freedom. It’s called edification. EDIFICATION TRUMPS FREEDOM. And self-control is the vehicle, the power, the limiter, that enables us to be edified without being adversely affected by our freedoms.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post in this series, Part 7. Another misconception about freedom that many of us have. This one deals with restraint. If you lack it or hate it, this next one’s for you. So don’t go playing hooky on me. I’ll be looking for you. And so will God.




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.



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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.