I'm not sure about you but Christian freedom isn't exactly a common term that comes up in church, unless maybe someone is discussing the abstaining-out-of-love-for-brethren-with-weaker-consciences issue in 1 Corinthians 8. Besides that, isn't it true that the general perception of Christianity doesn't align with the concept of freedom? Christians have got a whole set of rules to abide from, don't they? After all they don't do certain things on Sundays...and the list goes on. Case closed.
Today I studied Galatians 5 under Search the Scriptures and it was all about Christian freedom.
Take a look at the number of times Paul talks about freedom in Galatians, and the way in which he talks about it. I did, and I sat up. After all, what is this and why am I, as a Christian, not as aware of this as Paul seems to indicate I should be? To be honest, if you asked me to list the most precious things about being a Christian you would probably get peace, comfort, hope at the top of the list, but freedom might not come immediately to my mind.
Christian freedom is not just a by product, an insignificant freebie along the lines of a cup coaster or sticky notes that came with the rest of the package. (you know what I mean--the kind of stuff you wouldn't throw away, but which don't make you jump for joy either.)
According to Paul, it's something we should value and fight to preserve, in fact, something precious that Christ made possible for us--a trophy. Not a bunch of hideous sticky notes covered in even more hideous brand logos. I really detest those because they offend my aesthetic sense so severely and yet their usefulness forces me to use them, though I die a little each time.
Christian freedom has two aspects: freedom from the bondage of being judged on how well we keep the law, and freedom from the power of sin. And when we acknowledge one freedom without the other we get legalism or unrepentant sin.
This was a fascinating thought for me, a realization why we tend to veer too much towards one or the other. Do we even recognize what we have and see its value in the first place? Let alone understand the significance of its dual aspects? Our minds are so deeply ingrained in either mindset--self-love, pleasing ourselves; and the unspoken assumption that there is always something we have to DO to be good enough.
That has a greater impact on my spiritual life than I thought--in my struggle against sin, in my motivations for doing what is right, in my attitude towards other Christians who have different standards or opinions from me; in my understanding of just how significant the far-reaching implications Christ's death has for me.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage...For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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