From God comes…

From God comes liberty. A concise definition of liberty might be the state of being free from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s life or the ability to act as one pleases. With Fourth of July so close, it is natural to think of the freedom we are privileged to experience in the United States. Unfortunately, today many spend more time using their freedom to argue, push private agendas, and spread hate, than serving others. Freedom can be a heady experience when not tempered by love and the Word of God.

Speaking of the Word of God, the Bible speaks of a freedom Christians have in Christ that many believers find hard to understand. Our ultimate freedom lies in Christ. John 8:36 Jesus tells us, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we have been made free indeed.

Paul tells us more about this freedom in Galatians 5:1. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” This statement was controversial to some because before Christ, believers were linked to circumcision. They were slaves to ordinances, sacrifices, and rituals. Righteousness was measured by a list of dos and don’ts.  This list provided a certain comfort level because just following it made people feel assured of pleasing God. One never had to think about what was right or wrong—just look at the list. That was the old covenant, which was a physical approach to a physical law.

The new covenant is a spiritual approach. We have access to God directly. There is no need to jump through hoops to get His attention. He walks with us and talks with us. However, even though Paul reminds us to stand fast in this freedom and not be tempted to go back to our old list of dos and don’ts, he cautions us to use it wisely—the way God intended. We are told not to pursue works of the flesh such as “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, murders, drunkenness…” (Galatians 5:19) Rather we are encouraged to walk in the spirit of “joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Freedom in Christ does not give us license to do evil. Just like freedom in America should not give one license to harm others. If anything, it should fill us with a sense of responsibility to use our freedom for the good of everyone. We do good things because we want to, not because we have to. Therein lies the real freedom in Christ, the liberty that comes from God.

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God…”

~James 1:17 (NLT)

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