If I told you that you needed to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" or to "study to show yourself approved" or even still to "conduct yourself in fear during your time on earth" would you define it as freedom?
Would you protest as so many Christians do today, claiming that what's being espoused sounds like "works based faith"? Would you return fire with out-of-context scriptures like, "It is for freedom that Christ set us free." or "If the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed."? Intending to communicate that any requirement of God somehow nullifies His grace.
One of the most significant misunderstandings in the church today centers around this idea of freedom. What it is and what it's not. For Christians, our liberty as stated in yesterdays blog is freedom from sin not a freedom to sin, freedom from sin and freedom unto righteousness. Yes, you are saved by grace. BUT you are also known by the fruit of righteousness produced in your life. You are known for your obedience. You are no longer your own you were bought at a price!
English Puritan preacher and author Thomas Watson correctly asserted that "To serve God, to love God, to enjoy God, is the sweetest freedom in the world." Akin to this, King David in Psalm 119:45 attributed true freedom to the precepts of God when he said, "I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts." In the first epistle of John, we're taught that God's commands are not burdensome. Why? Because "everyone who is born of God OVERCOMES the world." True freedom!
The Bible never, let me repeat, NEVER says that we cannot overcome sin. It also doesn't mean "be perfect, but you actually can't so don't even try." To the contrary, 1 Peter 1:14-16 says we're to reject our former way (sin) and obey. Peters governing idea here is that we are to be holy as God is holy.
In conclusion, freedom is not anarchy! Our former manner of life, when each one of us did what was right in our own eyes was not free; it was hell! Through Christ Jesus and the now indwelling Holy Spirit, you and I have freedom. Freedom to serve and obey God.
The following scriptures should guide you in the right direction concerning this argument:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” - Galatians 5:13-14
Tomorrow we will conclude our series with insights about temptation, practicing sin as opposed to making mistakes as Christians and finally how we can walk in holiness moving forward. I hope you'll join me!