“The Liberty Wherewith Christ Hath Made Us Free”

Galatians 5:1

            This liberty that we have in Christ goes beyond these doctrinal matters. According to the teachings of the New Testament, it reaches to the common, everyday affairs of our lives. Our liberty in Christ gives us total liberty from all the religious customs, traditions, and superstitions of men. Pharisees, both ancient and modern, impose heavy burdens upon the consciences of men and women by which they make void the Word and commandments of God. We must never allow ourselves to become the servants of such things. We have no obligation to adhere to religious tradition. Indeed, we must not adhere to the oracles of men in spiritual matters (Matt. 15:1-6; Col. 2:6-8, 16-18, 20-23). Neither the Church of Christ, nor those men who are sent of God to preach the gospel, nor any other group of men, nor any individual has the right to add anything to the Word of God. We do not have the right to develop our own rules, dogmas, or doctrines.

            In Christ, God’s people are perfectly free to use every creature of God for their food, happiness, comfort, and satisfaction in this world. In the Old Testament things were divided into clean and unclean categories for the purposes of ceremonial purification. The Levitical law made the use of some things unlawful. But in this gospel age we are given liberty to use every creature of God. Nothing is common, or unclean of itself (Acts 10:14-15; Rom. 14:14; 1 Tim. 4:3-4). We are perfectly free to use all things as we see fit for the glory of our God (Rom. 14:2-3, 13-15, 20-23; 1 Cor. 8:9-13). I will lay down no rules about those things. Let me simply offer a few biblical guidelines about the use of those things which are matters of indifference. (1) Do not make any of these things a point of merit before God. Indifferent things become idolatrous if you make the use or nonuse of them a means of obtaining favor with God, a means of religious devotion, or a means of obtaining peace of conscience. (2) Use all things in moderation. Eating is not wrong; but gluttony is. Drinking a glass of wine is not wrong; but drunkenness is. Entertainment is not wrong; but reveling is. Use all things wisely, abusing none. (3) Carefully avoid offending your brethren. To offend a brother is to cause him to go against his own conscience. This we must avoid at all costs to ourselves. Our brother’s conscience is more important than our own comfort, happiness, and satisfaction. (4) Make your use of all things subservient to the glory of God, the gospel of Christ, and the welfare of the church. In all things make love for Christ and his people the basis of your actions. Use all things wisely, for the glory of God, abusing none.

            In Christ we are free to worship and serve the Lord our God. No man can or will truly worship God except by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But all who are in Christ are free to do so (Eph. 2:18). In Christ we are free to call upon God in prayer. In Christ we are free to observe and enjoy all the ordinances of the gospel (Baptism - Church Fellowship - The Lord’s Supper).This blessed freedom of grace inspires all who are in Christ by faith to freely give themselves up as bond slaves to him. We hold ourselves, and all that we are, and all that we possess in reserve for our Master, his cause, and his family.

Don Fortner