Freedom in Christ: What it is and How to Have it
Many think that freedom in Christ is freedom from being obligated to do what God’s law requires. Yet nothing could be a greater deception. We are all either slaves to Satan and sin or slaves to our rightful owner, Jesus Christ (who upholds the requirements of God’s eternal moral law).
Psalm 119:142: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.”
1 John 3:3-8: “And every man that hath this hope (referring to the hope of one day being like Christ) in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
Beware of those who preach any form of “liberty” or “freedom” in Jesus Christ besides liberty and freedom to walk in the truth of God through Jesus Christ. The Bible has some awful things to say about people like that.
2 Peter 2:9-22: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass (donkey) speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
We live in an especially perilous time where the products of the doctrine of those who preach this “alternative freedom” in Christ, which is not actually freedom in Christ at all, are ubiquitous (common, found virtually everywhere).
2 Timothy 3:1-5: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous (lovers of money, of material things, of recognition, etc.), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent (without self-control), fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady (reckless), highminded (haughty, seeking to be exalted over others), lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form (a profession and a spurious appearance) of godliness (Christianity), but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Somehow, in some way (and we’ve covered many of these ways throughout this series of messages) those just described came to accept Jesus in an unacceptable way which did not kill their enmity with God, their carnal attachments, and put all of their personal ambitions and plans in their proper place (resigned to whatever becomes of them as they diligently pursue the true God and keep His Word as their absolute top priority). Through this unacceptable acceptance of Jesus, they’ve become twofold more the children of hell and instruments of (apparently) reconciling Christianity with the evil ways of the world. Yet that’s not how those who manipulate and misunderstand God’s grace in Christ label them. They actually rather tend to reserve evil labels for those who preach genuine freedom in Christ. They will, in one way or another, label such as those who misrepresent the grace of God and oppose Christ’s Gospel (though they will likely give the extreme examples, in terms of taking their own doctrine and their own twisted definition of freedom in Christ to its logical end, bad labels too).
Galatians 1:4-5 says of Jesus Christ: “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
The spirit of the world which brings those who have sinned under its power is the most common way in which the devil keeps people under his control and uses them for his service as a rival god to the true God.
Romans 8:1-4 says: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (many stop there, keep reading), who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (of God- which inspired the written Word of God which is the Bible). For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Jesus Christ’s atonement provides the remedy for the guilt and power of sin. God’s law makes it evident that fallen mankind needs this remedy, yet the law in itself cannot provide this remedy. Those who obey the real Jesus Christ’s Gospel are cleansed by His blood in God’s sight and given His Holy Spirit to empower them to walk righteously and acceptable before God, overcoming the workings of sin in their flesh and the power of the darkness of this world. This walk conforms to the demands of God’s law, the very law which condemns those who do not partake of God’s grace in Jesus Christ for both their insurmountable debt before God because of their sins and their bondage to their own carnality, along with their agreement with the spirit of the world which encourages, strengthens, and reinforces that carnal bondage.
Our salvation indeed depends on whether we’ve truly attained, and continued in, the genuine freedom in Jesus Christ.
Matthew 13:36-50 (Jesus explains here the parable of the wheat and the tares which He had told earlier in this chapter): “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity (lawlessness); And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Psalm 23 (you’ve probably heard this before, but really consider its implications in its Scriptural context): “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (the Lord won’t lead anyone otherwise or grant a license to in any way forsake the paths of righteousness, not even to avoid the valley of the shadow of death). Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Then consider that with John 8:31-36: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
How do you have genuine, Biblical freedom in Christ?
You must come to Him to cooperate with His grace which is intended to deliver us from all sin and darkness. This means that you must forsake every sin and every evil yoke in coming to Him.
1 Corinthians 6:20: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
We can’t have a saving interest and true freedom in Christ when we withhold from Him what rightfully belongs to Him.
Later, in 1 Corinthians 7:23 we are told: “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”
There is a sense in which the Bible teaches that we should please all people in terms of not defrauding them and being faithful in our duties so that no one can righteously have anything against us. Yet the Bible also commands us not to make any decision that is not pleasing in God’s eyes in order to please another person, whoever it is. That would be serving men in opposition to, or in place of, God. Don’t let the terror of men rob you of freedom in Christ, the most important thing that there is! When the Bible talks about the fearful having their part in the lake of fire, it is referring to cowardice; and it surely applies fully to situations where people do not do what is right in God’s eyes to accommodate other people. Many never walk in true freedom in Jesus Christ because they are bound to the opinions of other people and/or the unrighteous demands of other people. In that basic sense, the Bible says in Isaiah 2:22: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”
Some people are part of a church that they know (or ought to know) is not leading people into, and faithfully along, the strait and narrow way of Christ (i.e. the paths of righteousness). They know that falsehood and other forms of darkness are prevailing in their church. Yet you’re bound to, and associated with, a church’s evil doctrine and evil deeds as long as you are in it. Seek a faithful church, yes; but don’t be bound to a yoke which associates you with the realm of darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Some are married to someone whom they know is not only not a faithful Christian, but they also know that their spouse is only with them on the condition that they don’t live as a faithful, consistent Christian themselves. Their spouse rather expects to compromise righteousness for their sake. Yet the Apostolic counsel which is given in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 for those married to unbelievers to continue in the marriage is given on the condition that their unbelieving spouse is not corrupting them and not a stumbling block to them walking in the whole counsel of God themselves. Otherwise, this is a case where divorce is a righteous necessity and staying with the opposing spouse is to continue an unrighteous yoke. Such a yoke is also under the rebuke given in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and must be departed from in order to be in Christ’s freedom and to not put oneself at enmity with Him.
1 John 1:5-7: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Moreover, in Proverbs 24:27 we are told: “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
Some people in the past, and I’m sure even many people today, need to grow their own food in order to simply live. They will (if they’re wise) shake their own life up however they need to shake it in order to possess and inhabit fertile land which is capable of growing food. It is no good, and it’s actually potentially counterproductive for them to build a house on land unless they know that land is ready to produce food. We ought to likewise shake our lives up as necessary so that truth and righteousness are at the foundation of our lives and thereby able to flourish, while stumbling blocks which oppose what is true and right in God’s eyes from prevailing are removed.
Along those lines, it does no good to make money if we are subservient to money. If there is unrighteous involved in making money, if the job practically prevents you from doing all the duties before God which you ought to do, and/or you’re bound to the job at heart so that (in the current state of your heart) you’d never leave your job even if one or both of these things came to be so, then the job and the money you make at it aren’t worth having. You could even give 99 percent of your earnings to the poor, or for the sake of Christ’s Gospel, and the giving would not be righteous fruit in God’s sight in that case because no man can serve two masters; we cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). We’ve got to cast away all the idols, forsake all other sins as well, and take up our cross in abandonment to Christ’s authority before we can ever be true partakers of His grace, rightfully claim to have His true freedom, walk in His true freedom, and bear righteous fruit in Him.
There is no freedom in Christ for those who will not have Him to reign over them, there is no one who finds life in Him who does not lose their life by walking in death to sin and self with Him. His freedom is offered to enable us to live by His Word unchained, by what if you won’t submit to that Word and walk therein? Is there another freedom in Christ for you? There is surely not. I plead with you to choose to serve the Lord and order your life by His Word. Call nothing which He commands unimportant or in any way worth neglecting. The things about God’s ways which people consider not important enough to walk in here will surely cause them to be disregarded and excluded from God’s kingdom (see Matthew 5:19-20) when Christ assumes His supreme authority and commences His eternal reign (see Revelation 11:15-19).
Romans 6:1-16: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death (proper Christian baptism is a testimony of submission to Christ’s authority in order to learn to observe all things which His Word commands- Paul is writing to Christians who had been genuinely baptized because they had genuinely been had been baptized for this reason)? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin (there is no freedom in Christ for such things): but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (those who heed these instructions are not under the condemnation of God’s Law, and Paul is illustrating right here that properly relating to God through Jesus Christ means submitting to and walking in God’s commandments as a guide to exercising a living faith in Jesus Christ). What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]