Freedom #22: Freedom vs. Anarchy
The world’s understanding of freedom is the liberty to do whatever one wishes with no restrictions, no accountability, no negative consequences and no one confronting them regarding their actions. That’s what Israel thought during the time of the Judges, but as you read the final chapters of that book, you see that it was not freedom, but anarchy. The reason for the anarchy is found in Judges 21:25. “Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes.” Jesus declared in John 8:34 that “the man who sins is a slave to sin.” In verse 36 of the same chapter we learn that true freedom comes only in knowing Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Christians are the ONLY free people on the face of the earth. We know nothing of bondage, except as we remember our past when we were slaves to sin.
Liberal socialist preachers who promoted The Christian Liberation Movement a generation ago, believed that the Gospel was not one of saving souls from sin and hell; but delivering the masses from poverty by destroying Capitalism and ushering in Socialism. Actually this dangerous false philosophy has been around since Bible times. The Apostle Peter warned of it in II Peter 2:9-22 where he described these false teachers as promising freedom, when they themselves were slaves of sin.
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN LIBERTY?
Christian liberty is the freedom from the power of sin to enslave us. That freedom is found only in Christ who perfectly fulfilled God’s Law and then paid the death penalty for us sinners who are unable to live it. Through faith in Christ, God has justified us by imputing Christ’s perfect righteousness to our account. Thus Christian freedom is freedom from the depressing awareness that we fail to measure up to God’s moral standard.
Furthermore, Christian freedom is freedom from the burden of the religious ceremonialism of the Old Testament, with its animal sacrifices, observance of Sabbaths and holy days. Read Colossians 2 for a better understanding of this wonderful freedom. As Christians who have the Holy Spirit living in us, we are free to live in the Spirit as He lives the life of Christ through us. See Romans 8:1-4.
THE NEED FOR GOD’S MORAL LAWS
The unconverted carnal man needs laws; not simply to show him he has sinned. He already knows that, for his conscience convicts him when he does wrong. But God’s Laws show the awfulness of his sins, in that he has defied God and is deserving of death, God’s penalty for sin. The natural man needs punishment severe enough to control his behavior. He lacks the inward control of character. The unconverted religionist can’t imagine life without laws and punishment to control his passions. On the other hand, the believer has the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit, living within him, restraining him from doing wrong. II Thessalonians 2:7
The Judaizers who troubled the Galatian Christians thought Paul was discarding God’s Law. They did not understand that, for the Christian, God’s Law is written on our hearts and that we delight in His Law, just as the Old Testament saints did, as recorded in Psalm 40:7-8
WE DON’T REACT TO A CODE OF LAWS
Christian freedom is not to be used as an occasion or opportunity to be a libertine, living a licentious life, casting off restraint and doing whatever comes naturally and harming others; but as Galatians 5:13 teaches, Christian freedom is the freedom and power we are given to do right as we walk under the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit and thus glorify God.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVE FOR OBEYING GOD’S LAWS?
There has never been a change in God’s moral Law. The only change is in our motives for obeying them. As the slave in Exodus 21:1-6, our motive for obeying our Master is our love for Him. May God help you to know Christ as your Savior and may you live a joyful, surrendered life to Him as the world around you continues to live in anarchy to Almighty God.
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