It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be encumbered once more by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
I am not surprised that in my previous articles on “Freedom,” most Christians have not understood me. I put the blame for this at the doorstep of Church leaders, theologians, and schools, who have been relied upon to lead and instruct the flock of God. If the root is bad, then the fruit will be bad.
In their misinterpretation of what I said, Christians have concluded that if everything is lawful, then they may give free rein to their instincts, passions, and fantasies. As another way of saying this: if I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit dwells in me, and I’ve been transformed, then I may commit sin: theft, adultery, etc., even though these things bring judgment on others, but for me, they’re simply an exercise of my freedom. I have not said this or said anything like it. Freedom is not a pretext to sin. What Paul and James describe as being the passions of the flesh still exist after conversion. When a man sins it is a matter of that man taking a path that offers little or no resistance, and that man may be a Christian who yet lacks the control dictated by the Holy Spirit. This man is not under obligation to fulfill the “lust of the flesh,” but being weak or ignorant he may slip and do what he doesn’t want to do (Romans 7), but “Oh, Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So, then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.” Romans 7:24, 25. Then comes Romans 8:1 “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.”
The power to walk in freedom is a gift that most Christians have declined to accept. It is the nature of man that he feels he must do something, although Christian man has been told a hundred times that salvation and freedom are gifts IF you are “in Christ.” Freedom is so very simple, yet most Christians have rejected it. The thief on the cross entered Heaven simply because he accepted the free gift. A little child will enter Heaven before the seasoned Christian scholar because he or she was naïve enough to simply “believe.” Those whom Jesus healed, in their desperate situation, simply accepted the free gift. Yet, everywhere, every Christian declines the offer and chooses in some way to earn what is freely given. Their burdensome efforts to not be caught in sin, although appearing commendable, are a deception, a rejection, and a slap in the face of the very One they say they follow and trust.
This is what modern Christianity has become. Modern Christianity, across the board, are the revitalized and reinstated Pharisees who have added their own interpretation and deeds to the work of Jesus on the Cross; those deeds haven’t worked in the past and they will not work now.
My personal thoughts on the matter are these. They either have a fear of being rejected by their peers and family because they may come across as “unorthodox,” or they fear losing what they have worked so hard for and invested heavily in, such as education, personal study, memorizing texts, evangelism, and/or friendships. The life of a Christian is still, as ever before, a matter of self-sacrifice, and sacrifice becomes more and more difficult with age and investment. The gate that must be passed through is narrower than we imagined. God is merciful but we dare not test Him as the Pharisees did. You can receive God’s gift through His Son for free; let that sink in for a moment.