Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Freedom in Christ

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Freedom in Christ

The truth of salvation by grace through faith is a marvelous word. That particular word tells us that grace is centered around "coming as you are." The grace of God removes the spiritual impossibility of "getting your life right" and checking off the things on a list that you must accomplish before you can experience a relationship with God. That is sometimes referred to as legalism, ie, one must follow every detail of the law in order to find favor with God.

However, as with most things in our spiritual life, there must be a balance. The other side of the coin is confusing Freedom in Christ with Anything Goes! The fictional story goes that since I have a relationship with God through Jesus, I know I am not bound to a legalistic lifestyle thanks to the freedom found in Christ, so I will just do whatever I want, knowing that God's grace will fill in the gaps. Sounds nice, but it just isn't biblical.

First of all, before we get to what really matters, the biblical text, lets examine my favorite statement made by Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy. "Apart from the law, there is no freedom." It seems to be contradiction. How can there be freedom when there is a law? Contrary to popular belief, freedom does not simply mean being able to do anything and everything you want without any boundaries. In fact, that kind of freedom would ultimately, and rather quickly, lead to absolute zero freedom because of the mass chaos, confusion, social disorder and total breakdown of community and society. That is why we can accurately say "America, Land of the Free" even though we have laws and a judicial system. Only an extremist would say that freedom does not exist in America because we can't shoot someone in the face with a rifle or steal an X-Box 360 from the local Wal-Mart. (if they were in stock) We of course know that our freedom is not defined by our ability to do those things without punishment.

Now to the biblical text. Paul was preaching a radical message. First of all, we have Jesus, who is being called the Messiah. That alone was not sitting to well with his fellow Jewish brethren. But in addition to that heresy, Paul was also preaching a message that placing faith and trust in this Jesus is what provided our relationship with God, not a strict adherence to the Law or a code or a set of rules. Just "call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved." This was supremely radical stuff. Now, here is what happened. . .

As is still the case today, people began to take this message and apply it incorrectly. Humankind has a disturbing history of taking something nice or special and turning it into a selfish, self-promoting message of "how far can I take it." There began to rise a group of people who abused the message of freedom in Christ. They said, if grace abounds in sin, and there is not a "list" of instructions to enjoy a relationship with God, then lets just sin as much as possible and let God's grace abound big time! Paul responds to this movement in the bible several times, saying, "May it never be."

Our wonderful freedom in Christ is not a license to do anything we want. Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. And when Jesus fulfills something, He makes it stronger, not weaker. Our freedom as Christians means that there is not a "to do" list every morning in order to experience God that day. You do not have to be a certain race or ethnicity. You do not have to be the popular kid or the most successful business person. You simply have to accept God's gift with faith. Are there instructions from God? Are there things we should do and shouldn't do? Are there commands from God? Of course. And we experience God to the fullest when we obey. But ultimately, the bible is not a book of morals that tells us "do this" and "don't do that." You can find them in there, but that is not the point. The point is about Jesus Christ, Savior of the world.


Blogger Andy said...

very well said

December 19, 2005 2:57 AM  
Blogger zuke said...

Hey, you have a great blog, check out mine when you get a chance , its about related stuff

February 02, 2006 12:51 AM  

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