On August 15, once again people of India celebrated their day of independence. No doubt, freedom is invaluable, beautiful and sweet. It brings joy, strength, peace and even makes us bold.As people began to enjoy various aspects of freedom, there is a cry for more freedom from every corner.
Does it mean the people of India are really free in every aspect? Not at all.Bonded labourers and child workers are plenty. Freedom of expression and faith is often on paper only. Politically, economically and socially, not all are free indeed. Apart from that many others are under the bondage of bad habits, ignorance, false faith and even sinful selfishness.
No wonder true freedom is found only in The Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the Jews of Christ time failed to realize their slavery under the Romans, today men fail to feel the real bondage they undergo. The word of God categorically declares that man is in bondage. In John 8: 32 – 36. The Lord told them, “”Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” V. 34. Paul writes, “to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey...” Romans 6:16. Apostle Peter makes it more clear, “by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.” 2Peter 2:19.
Joy of liberty
Slavery to self and sin is the most serious problem man is facing today, but the irony is many do not care about it. With self-efforts and short-cuts man thinks he can find freedom, but end up in more repression. It is from such spiritual oppression the Lord Jesus delivers us. Cf. Colossians 1:13; Romans 6:6; Galatians 5:1 etc.
Every born again Christian enjoys true spiritual freedom. The joy and peace experienced by them is inexpressible and beyond measure. The more we know the truth of the word of God, stay close to the Son and being led by the Spirit of God, this experience of liberty is enhanced proportionately. Cf. John 8:32, 36; 2Cor 3:17. Christians who are committed to follow the New Testament principles and practices do enjoy much more liberty than any others.
Danger of abuse
Nevertheless, there is another aspect of freedom, which is the abuse of it. Many from around the world are worried about the blatant abuse of liberty. In the name of freedom of speech and expression, people think they can say and do anything. They think freedom means free for all, no restriction, no boundary whatsoever. So they live in any way, speak anything, and act in any manner.
Few weeks ago, in an Indian city somebody objected to the naked walk of certain people, immediately they replied, its part of our religious belief. In the name of freedom of religion walking naked! Throughout the world, especially in some of the developed world, it has become a fashion to move around with minimum or no dress, saying it’s their freedom! Ironically, the same people will not honour the freedom of Christians to propagate their faith.
Such attitude is creeping in to the mind of some believers too. Highlighting the freedom they have in Christ, they think they are free to do anything and live in any style. It seems those hold the ‘brotherhood’ and ‘priesthood’ of all believers are prone to think they are absolutely free and no one can control their words or deeds! The word of God unmistakably warns Christians against the abuse of liberty. Notice the following verses.
Galatians 5:1:- 3 “… called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
1Peter 2:16:- “As free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.”
1Corinthians 6:12:- “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
1Corinthians 8:9:- “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.”
1Corinthians 10:23:- “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me but not all things edify.”
See how plainly the word of God tells of the way we should exercise our freedom in Christ. Yes, we are not under the Law of Moses, not even under any man made tradition. That doesn’t mean we have no restriction in life. We are not without any law or principle. At home, society or local church there is a definite way for Christian’s behaviour. We cannot simply conduct in any method as we wish.
For God’s glory
Observe what Paul affirms, though He is free to do anything, he will not use that freedom, if it’s not helpful or disturbs others. Finally in 1 Cor. 10:31 he says we ought to do everything for the glory of God. We have to examine whether the exercise of our freedom brings glory to God or not.
So, a true Christian is not one who lead a lawless, free life, but one who lives responsibly for God’s glory and the edification of God’s people. In fact true Christian freedom is to live under the yoke of Christ. Matt. 11:29. As we stay close to Him, guided and led by the Sprit of God we learn from Him more and that results in the enjoyment of spiritual freedom to live a God-honouring life. Cf. Romans 6:22; 1Cori 7:22; Matt 11:29; 2Cori 3:17.
Yield to God
Dear Christian believer, how do you enjoy your spiritual freedom? Are you still under the bondage of self, sin and Satan? Are you still possessed by the past, guilt, fear, hatred, worry etc? Enjoy freedom in Christ. Know the Lord and His word.
Be happy to be a slave of Jesus Christ. The joy and freedom under the yoke of Christ is truly wonderful and indescribable. True believer does not find it difficult to be under the restrictions God has set, whether in the church or society.
Liberty under Control
Dr. Ironside tells the story of Muslim convert from India, doing business in the US, who hesitated to eat pork during a Sunday school outing. It was a surprise to the believer who was serving the food.
“Why Mr. Ali”, She asked, “you surprise me, are you still under the law that you cannot eat pork? Don’t you know that a Christian is at liberty to eat any kind of meat?”
And Mr. Ali replied, “I am at liberty, my dear young lady, to eat it, but I am also at liberty to let it alone. You know I was brought up a strict Mohammedan. After every three years I go back to India to render an account of the business to my father. He is really the head of the business, and to have a visit with the folks at home. Always when I get home I know how I will be greeted. When I and the friends will all be sitting inside the house, and my father will come to the door, when the servant announces that I’m there, and he will say, ‘Mohammed, have those infidels taught you to eat the filthy pig meat yet?’ ‘No, Father,’ I will say, ‘pork has never passed my lips.’ Then I can go in and have the opportunity to preach Christ to them. If I took one of your sandwiches, I couldn’t preach Christ to my father the next time I go home”