By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Focal Passage: 1 Corinthians 10:23-33
The question of the Christian’s freedom is something I’ve wrestled with since I first met Jesus. My first few years as a Christian I felt little freedom. I was bound tightly by legalistic ropes which kept my conscience in a constant shame.
No matter what sins I avoided and what good I did, at the end of every day I couldn’t shake the feeling God was mad at me and I had to try even harder tomorrow.
I was miserable and none of this brought a greater godliness to me or good to others.
Once God’s grace truly gripped my heart and I realized I was free from working to earn His satisfaction but that He was already fully satisfied in Jesus, it was amazing! My freedom, though, was dangerous. All types of selfishness and sin were there waiting for me, under the guise of my “freedom.” All things were permissible to me, but not all things built me up, like Paul says.
Over time, I learned that my Christian freedom is a freedom to love. Freedom and responsibility became two sides of the same coin.
I am free in Christ, free to serve and build others up. To that end, I surrender any freedom to do what I want that I might more freely do what He wants.
Christian freedom has never been a license to continue living in our sin. It has also never been the same yoke of the law around our necks.
Our gospel freedom is a surrendering of the good for the great. The mature Christian surrenders their comforts, pleasures, passions and rights for the purpose of more clearly glorifying God by building others up.
My freedom is found only in my surrender. My surrender is not, though, to the opinions or outlooks of others. It is about doing whatever it takes to remove barriers in the way of people knowing and growing in Christ.
If we are united together in Christ as one body, a family, one people, then I don’t ever want to do anything that might trip you in your walk with Christ. God forgive me for when my “freedom” has only made it harder for someone to share Christ or for someone to know Christ.
As fellow believers may we always act in love for one another in such a way that we resolve to do only what will make it easier for others to know God and to make Him known.
My freedom, then, is only founded in my faith family. We have an interdependent independence. We are free together. Free from sin and free to be holy. Free from selfishness and free to serve. I am even freed from my insistence on independence and free to realize my interdependence on others in the Body of Christ. We are in this together.
The gospel sets us free to stop setting stumbling blocks for others. May we, then, walk in the gospel freedom which removes the yoke from our necks so that we might then willingly stoop down to lift others up in Christ. This is the true freedom Christ gives us, a freedom to serve. B&R