Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Liberty or License

Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Paul encouraged the believers to "stand fast" in their liberty that Christ had made them free. He exhorted them not to hearken to those who were coming into the church with an oppressive legalistic, and self righteous relationship with the Lord. The believers had been liberated, adopted, redeemed, saved, and it wasn't because of what they had done, but because of what Jesus had done. There is a glorious liberty in Christ, especially when you consider that we were formerly in bondage to sin. We are to praise God for that liberty, for the Bible says whom the Son sets free is free indeed. 

Paul however did not want to be misunderstood by his readers, and therefore he gave an important clarification on the Christian's liberty. The liberty that we have in the Lord is NOT a liberty to go out and sin, but rather a liberty to NOT TO go out and sin. You see before you knew Christ you had no liberty over sin, you were in bondage. But now that you are in Christ, you do have the liberty to no longer live a lifestyle of sin.

There were some who falsely looked at the grace of God as a license for licentiousness. In other words, now that I have grace I can live however I want. I can indulge in my former practices but have grace to bail me out. Those who think that way, and live that way do not truly understand the grace of God. When a person is born again the Lord gives them a freedom not to go back into the world.  Paul corrected this view in writing to the Romans, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" Romans 6:1-2

I have found that the Holy Spirit actually exercises a stricter supervision in my life. The Holy Spirit gives me the desire and the power to turn from all the things that I used to be in bondage to. As a believer I passed from under the control of a mere system of legal enactments into the control of a person, namely God the Holy Spirit.