Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Freedom #21: Stand Fast

The world’s definition of freedom is the liberty to do whatever you wish with no restrictions, no accountability, no one confronting you and no adverse consequences. That, of course, is not freedom, that is anarchy as in the days of the Judges when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”. Judges 21:25     

Jesus said in John 8:34-35 that the one who sins is a slave of sin and that freedom is only found in knowing Him.   Did you know that Christians are the only free people on the face of the earth?  Though in the past we were in bondage to sin;  as Christians, we have been freed from that bondage through faith in Christ.     

Liberal preachers over the past century have forsaken the Gospel of Christ that delivers from sin and its consequences and have replaced it with the false gospel of the Christian Liberation Movement, that of vainly attempting to deliver the masses from poverty and disease by destroying capitalism and ushering in Socialism.    Actually, forms of this false gospel have been around since Bible times. Peter warned of these false teachers in II Peter 2:9-22  who preach freedom, but they themselves are slaves to sin.      

The Galatian Christians had been set free from the oppression of sin by the Gospel of Grace that Paul had preached to them. Then Galatians 2:4 tells us that false teachers had infiltrated the churches and were drawing  the young Christians back into the bondage of attempting to keep the Mosaic Ceremonial Law which was abolished when Jesus died and rose again.      

WHAT IS CHRISTIAN LIBERTY?     

First, it is 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 penalty for our inability to live it, imputing His perfection  on all those who trust Him.   We are also freed from the oppressive burden of the ceremonial system with its feasts and observance of sabbaths and holy days that Israel had trouble keeping. Paul writes about this in Colossians 2:8-23   As believers in Christ, we have been given the gift of His Holy Spirit who lives the righteousness of the Law through us as we allow His Spirit to have control in our lives. That is taught in Romans 8:1-4.      

THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S MORAL AND CEREMONIAL LAWS      

Unconverted, carnal  men need God’s Laws to show them what is right and wrong.   He also needs punishment severe enough to control his behavior because he lacks the inward control of character.  The unconverted religionist can’t imagine life without laws and punishment to control passions.      On the other hand, the believer whose trust is in the grace of Christ has the Holy Spirit living within him as the restrainer from sin. That restrainer is referred to in II Thessalonians 2:7  The Old English word let in that verse in the King James Version, is a word for restrainer or hinderer.     

The Judaizers thought Paul was throwing off God’s Law.  They didn’t understand that the Law of God is written in the heart of every Christian and we delight to keep God’s ethical standards and are empowered to do so by the indwelling Holy Spirit.   The Old Testament saints, as David, also delighted in God’s Law and it was written in their hearts. David writes about this in Psalm 40:7-8.     

So when we Christians do right, we are not reacting to a code of laws. Rather we are responding to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit.   As for the Old Testament Ceremonial Laws, we study them to see pictures of Jesus; however,  we are under no obligation to observe them, for according to Colossians 2:16-17 Christ is the fulfillment of those laws.     

OUR CALLING IN CHRIST IS TO LIBERTY, PURITY AND LOVE.     

God’s moral law has not changed.  The change is in the fulfillment of it.  Read the beautiful story in Exodus 21:1-6 of the slave who was set free, but chose to stay with his master and serve him the rest of his life.  Note that the slave continued with his duties as a slave, but now his motive for serving had changed from coercion to love.     

God’s moral standards regarding murder, fornication, adultery, and deviant sexual behavior are still an abomination in the sight of God and are punishable by death.  But now the Christian’s behavior is no longer motivated by fear, but by his love for God.  If you determine to live by God’s standards because you love God and appreciate his gracious salvation,  expect  to be misunderstood and labeled a legalist, even by some Christians who lack a knowledge of God’s Word.     

Christian freedom is not to be used as an occasion to cast off restraint and live a licentious life, doing whatever comes naturally and harming others.  Rather,  Christian freedom according to Galatians 5:15  is the ability through the indwelling Holy Spirit, to walk in holiness, serve others and glorify God. 

Love enables us to fulfill God’s Law even as it did for Old Testament saints, Obedience should flow from a heart that loves God. That’s why God commanded Israel  in Leviticus 19:18  and Deuteronomy 6:4-8 to love Him and love one another and that’s why we in the New Testament are given the same commands and that’s why the Apostle Paul challenges the Galatian Christians and us to “stand fast” in the liberty which is in Christ Jesus.  

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August 22, 2007 - Posted by | Freedom

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