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Chuck McKnight, AiG–U.S., discusses the concept of Christian liberty and how we should respond to that truth.
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. (Galatians 5:13)
Today’s big question: what is Christian liberty?
In the last article, we saw that we are no longer under the Law. Rather, we have liberty through Jesus Christ. But what exactly does that mean?
Does liberty mean that the Law simply no longer applies to us at all? The answer to this question is a resounding “No!” Rather, when Jesus talked about the Law, He refocused their attention on the heart of the matter. While the Law commanded us not to murder, Jesus said we must not be unjustly angry with a brother (Matthew 5:21–26). While the Law forbade adultery, Jesus said we must not even look at a woman with lust (Matthew 5:27–30).
That said, certain elements of the Law have been removed. For example, we are no longer held to the Jewish dietary requirements (Acts 10:9–16). Neither are we still commanded to circumcise (1 Corinthians 7:17–19). However, these elements of the Law are more of a civil nature than a moral nature. While God may have different civil or ceremonial requirements for specific generations, His moral laws are based on His own nature and thus will never change.
So how does the Law apply to our lives today?
First, the Law is the standard by which we see our sinfulness (Romans 3:19–20). If there was no Law to break, there would be no way to determine that we have sinned and are thus in need of redemption (Romans 7:7–13). Only once we see the need for redemption can we see the need for the Savior. Paul said that “the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:24–25, (NASB)).
Second, the Law serves as God’s instructions to live a sanctified life after salvation. It is true that for Christians “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23, NASB). If we love God, we will want to keep His commands (John 14:15, 21–24) and give Him our very best in everything because of all that He has done for us. God, in His grace, has forgiven our sins, so “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1–2, ESV).
Today’s big idea: since we have liberty through Jesus Christ let us obey His commands out of love for Him.
What to pray: praise God for the liberty He has given, and seek to please Him in all you do.