Christian liberty is a great theme of the New Testament. Who doesn’t love the idea of freedom? Unfortunately, this great Bible subject has been met with confusion at times; even abuse. The confusion/abuse arises from the definition of freedom. Simply put, is Christian liberty the freedom to live the way God wants me to live, or the way I want to live?
Those who would argue for the latter claim to support their position with Paul’s statement at the end of Romans 6:14, “For you are not under the law but under grace.” The argument is that since we are not under the law (the Law of Moses), the righteous requirements of the law no longer apply to New Testament Christians. And since we are under grace, our sins are covered past, present, and future. The result is a very sloppy form of Christianity that lives no differently than the world under the banner of “grace”.
Those who define Christian liberty as the freedom to live the way God wants us to live quickly point out the context of Paul’s statement in Romans 6:14b. Before Paul said, “For you are not under the law but under grace,” he said, “For sin shall not have dominion over you.” Not only that, but the entire context of Romans 6 is living holy lives that are separated from sin.
Rather than looking at grace as some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card that allows us to sin with impunity, Paul presents grace as the empowerment of God not to sin. At salvation God does not take away our ability to sin. He gives us the power not to sin!
As slaves to sin we were under the power of sin. Sin is what we did because it’s who we were. We were sinners by nature, and therefore by practice. But grace changed that. As the servants of God, we are now free to serve the Lord and live the way He wants us to live.
Christian liberty is not the freedom to live the way I want. It’s the freedom to live the way I should. It’s the freedom to live the way I was created and designed to live. Sin is against life and will always result in a breakdown. So one good reason to do what is right today is tomorrow, because sin has consequences. Another very good reason is eternity. It’s what we actually do, not say, that determines our eternal destiny (Matthew 7:21).
Do not mistake being under grace for something that it’s not. It is not license to continue dabbling or living in sin. It is the power of God to conquer what once conquered you, and live from that point on in the freedom for which Christ has made you free.
Don’t ever go back. Having been made free, stay free!
This Sunday at RLA --
I am looking forward to seeing you this Sunday as we begin our new series on ETERNITY. This Sunday’s message is titled Eternity In Their Hearts and is based on Ecclesiastes 3:11. The theme is that God created everyone to live forever. The question is not, “Will I live forever?” but, “Where will I spend eternity?”
I encourage you to bring someone to church Sunday who needs to hear this message. I guarantee that the opportunity will be given for them to respond.
See you Sunday!