LIBERTY IN CHRIST
The New Testament is very clear that as saved people, we are no longer bound by any law to please God, but we are under His grace. Many people, however, use this freedom as an opportunity to sin, thinking they are free to do as they wish.
The purpose of this lesson is to help the individual understand what his liberties in Jesus Christ are, and what lines need to be drawn in his life in relation to his actions as a child of God.
Am I free to do whatever I want?
Personally, we have free will and are at liberty to make our own choices, (John 8:36, Romans 14:22, Joshua 24:15).
As we learned in Lesson #2 we are eternally secure in Christ, we cannot lose our salvation as a result of our actions. Salvation is the gift of God. It is given because of faith in Jesus Christ, not because of any good that we have done, nor can we lose it because of any wrong we may do (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:16).
We are not bound by rules and regulations “Legalism”, (Romans 8:1-3, Galatians 3:24-25).
What is the purpose of my liberty in Christ?
The liberty we have in Jesus Christ gives us the freedom to do what is right without the constraints of the law. However, liberty is not a license to sin or to do whatever we want, (Romans 6:1-2, Galatians 5:13).
Our liberty is not given to satisfy our sinful flesh, (Romans 6:12-18, Galatians 5:1).
Our liberty provides opportunities to reach people for Christ, (1 Corinthians 9:19-22).
How does our freedom affect us personally?
We are free to make our own choices, but if we choose to sin, we should be aware of the consequences:
If we fail to obediently “abide” in Christ we will not bear fruit, (John 15:1-8).
God will chasten us as His sons, (Hebrews 12:5-11).
God will allow us to reap what we have sown, (Galatians 6:7-8).
How does our freedom affect those around us?
Our lives will be a testimony for good or for bad whether we want it to be or not. No matter what we do, it will affect those around us; one way or another, (Romans 14:7).
We are to avoid things that could cause a weaker Christian to stumble in his faith, (1 Corinthians 8:9-13, Romans 14:13-15).
We are to avoid things that appear wrong even though they may not be wrong, (1Thessalonians 5:22).
We are to have a good testimony toward both saved and unsaved people.
1 To the saved, (Acts16:1-2, Philippians 2:25-30)
2 To the lost, (Colossians 4:5-6, 1Timothy 3:7).
3 The purpose is to influence them for good in the Lord Jesus Christ, (Acts 11:22-24, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
What are the bounds of our liberty?
There are many “gray areas” in dealing with certain things we may or may not want to be involved in. In these cases, we should ask ourselves some questions:
Are you being brought under the power of something that should not be controlling your life? (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Are you edifying others or yourself? (1 Corinthians 10:23).
Can you ask God to bless it with a clear conscience? (Acts 24:16, 1 Timothy1:5).
If the Lord returned at this moment, would you be ashamed? (1 Corinthians 1:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Could it be perceived as hypocritical and thereby cause an unsaved person to reject Christ as Saviour? (1Corinthians 10:31-33).
How do we achieve a balance in our liberties so as not to offend a brother in Christ, or misguide an unsaved person?
As mature Christians we should be more concerned about the welfare of others (Philippians 2:3-4, 1 Corinthians 10:24); especially the young and the weak (Romans 15:1-2). Care must be taken so that our liberty does not become a stumbling block to a weaker brother or sister, (1 Corinthians 8:1-13).
One man’s liberty can cause a weaker brother to sin, that is, to be emboldened in an area where he doubts, (Romans 14:23).
The proper thing to do with our liberty in Christ is to make ourselves subject to the Master’s will, even though we are free. Give you freedom back to God! (Romans12:1, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, and Luke 9:23).