Independence Day – 9 Guidelines From Paul – Part 4

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Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. (NKJV)

Practicing Christian liberty is neither license (“I’m free to do whatever I feel like”) or legalism (“here’s my list of convictions that should be yours too”). It is the individual pursuit of enjoying the freedom that Jesus Christ died and secured for us. It is the liberty to experience a relationship with the Living God and cultivate a relationship with Him.

To close this series, I want to look at Romans 14 where the Apostle Paul lays down nine guidelines for us to employ in the exercise of our Christian liberty.

  1. Accept the weaker person
    v.1 – “Receive one who is weak in the faith”

    The more spiritually mature Christians should not reject or exclude the weaker or less convicted Christians. Notice the verse says “weak” but also says “in the faith”. The Christian brother who has become convicted to quit smoking or who is struggling with watching entertainment that is not up to Godly standards, is STILL a Christian brother. The Christian who has not matured in their choice of a “colorful language” or is still far too caught up in worldliness is STILL a Christian (we’re assuming a genuine born-again regeneration has occurred for the sake of this lesson). In context, this “weakness” has in mind the idea of not being able to let go of religious tradition that is not strictly Scriptural.

    Older, mature Christians who want to reject the weaker brethren (in the faith) or force their standards on them are flirting with legalism. We should never reject or refuse association with another Christ-follower simply because they have not yet matured or become convicted about some habit or choice that we may know is honestly less Godly than it could be.

  2. Don’t fight over liberty, show contempt or pass judgment on another Christian’s convictions or opinions
    v. 1 – “but not to disputes over doubtful things.”
    v. 10 – “Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother?”

    Liberty that is fought over is no longer liberty – it’s pride, division and contention. Pride passes judgment on others who may have different convictions. Division stirs up a controversy and attempts to get people to take sides. Contention escalates the disagreement into a dispute and bad feelings.

    The meaning of contempt here is to consider someone as worthless. The idea behind judgment
    in this context is to condemn another. To do either of these over a matter of liberty is wrong in every sense.

  3. Christians are individually accountable to God
    v. 4 – “To his own master he stands or falls.”

    This is the reason we don’t have to fight or pass judgment on each other. You are accountable to me, and I’m not accountable to you in this matter of liberty. I’ll answer to God about my choices not you, and vice versa. Paul very bluntly is saying “mind your own business, don’t worry about the other guy. He doesn’t answer to you! We all answer to God.”

    What really matters is how Christ will judge each person for only God knows the true heart of man.

  4. Be fully convinced in your exercise of liberty
    v. 5 – “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.”

    When you make a choice that falls into the arena of “liberty” you must be fully convinced that God is “okay” with it and approves. Why? Because doubt is one of the worse things a Christian can have as a foundation. If you doubt, yet proceed, you could be a hypocrite, you could be wrong, you could be hesitant, you could be easily influenced, you could be fooling yourself, you could be making excuses. Remember, God looks into the heart. When you are fully and prayerfully convinced that God is “green lighting” you, then you can proceed in full confidence that if God changes His mind, or you’ve misread Him somehow, He will waste no time in letting you know you got it wrong. That’s what is so liberating about liberty. I don’t have to be worried about God being mad. If I make a wrong choice in good faith, fully convinced – I know God will not abandon me, but instead, lovingly correct me.

    Each Christian is ultimately responsible to serve God and live their life with a clear conscience, finding out what God says through His written word, and relying on Holy Spirit to guide at all times, and convict or redirect when necessary. Think about that. What more can you? Find out what God says. Ask God for wisdom and direction. Make the best decision you can and proceed with a clear conscience trusting that God will be right there with you, blessing your good decisions, and correcting your bad ones.

  5. Live for God in all you do and all you choose
    v. 8 – “we live to the Lord”

    The overriding principle is that all of our decisions, all of our liberty, should be lived out for the Lord. Evaluate any liberty you want to take and make sure that it demonstrates and authenticates that you live first and foremost for God. Live or die, it’s for the Lord. Left or right, it’s for the Lord. Up or down, it’s for the Lord. Yes or no, it’s for the Lord. Just do whatever you do for the Lord and trust Him to lead you.

  6. Don’t allow your liberty to be a stumbling block to others
    v. 13 – “not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

    If you are okay with having a glass of wine and you are with another Christian who sees it as a sin, don’t drink the wine in front of them just to show them how “liberated” you are. That is prideful. You should never carelessly practice or flaunt a liberty just to prove you can do it, even if it offends another. It takes a mature and discerning Christian to answer the question: where is the line that divides legalism and simply foregoing your liberty for the sake of a weaker brother? In other words, it’s one thing to allow another Christian to bind their convictions on you (legalism) and another to forego or delay a liberty personally because you know it will cause a weaker Christian to be spiritually troubled (motivated by love and concern for the weaker party).

  7. Walk in love
    v. 15 – “you are no longer walking in love.”

    As with all things “Christian”, genuine Godly love is the greatest factor. If you’re exercise of liberty is of greater importance to you than the welfare and good of your fellow Believers, then you are no longer walking in love, you are walking in the flesh. Walking in love will cause us at times to give our liberties, not because of legalism (of the other party) but because of our genuine concern for their spiritual needs.

  8. Remember that the Kingdom is spiritual, not physical
    v. 17 – “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking”

    Christians endlessly fuss and fight over music, schooling, clothes, recreation, food, religious side issues and we lose sight of the fact that our faith is not about the physical. The kingdom of God is not about eating, drinking, material posessions, lists of rules, man-made standards – it’s about relationship and love. Oh, that’s not to say that doctrine, holiness and high standards are optional or unimportant. Quite the opposite. It’s makes them MORE important, but on an individual basis as we all stand individually accountable to our Master.

  9. Pursue peace and edification
    v. 19 – “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify”

    We should not get all caught up arguing about our liberty or debating what we think is “okay” or “right” with regards to Christian liberty. If we will pursue peace and edification (“what is good”) within the Body of Christ, the petty, legalistic squabbles would end, and the exercise of liberty would be a natural by-product. Do not hinder or hurt that work of God with useless fighting over whether or not women should wear pants, or whether or not home schooling is better than public schooling. Pursue peace and edification allowing each Christian to work out their own matters of liberty with God.

Christian liberty is not an excuse to sin. Neither is it an excuse for you or I to tell others they should have the same convictions we have. No matter how convinced we are, it does not make our conviction a doctrine, or constitute sin if someone else is not as convinced and chooses to live differently (keeping in mind that we are talking about genuine areas of liberty which assumes the absence of a clear directive from Scripture).

This 4th of July, I hope you’ll spend some time thanking God for your liberty in Christ, learning how to exercise it in love and knowing when to delay liberty for the sake of love. The 4th of July, Liberty Day, is a temporary holiday that will pass away with the rest of this universe some day. Your liberty in Christ is an eternal blessing that will never fade or end.

Lord God, Help us to know about the true liberty found in Christ. Help us to know how to enjoy it, how to let others enjoy it, and to know the difference between liberty and essentials. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Have you given much thought concerning liberty? Have you ever used any type of guidelines in make decisions in the area of liberty or has it been all “feel”?

Application: Liberty in Christ is one of the greatest blessings God has provided. It frees us from the bondage of religion and men, it frees us from fear, it allows us to enjoy a life of freedom in Christ. It is not a license to sin or abuse other’s liberty. In order to enjoy our freedom and allow others to enjoy theirs, we must learn what Christian liberty is from Scripture and how to properly exercise it.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



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Independence Day – Decisions Decisions – Part 3

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Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. (NKJV)

When you are looking at a decision that falls within the realm of your Christian liberty, it is helpful to have some established (in your own mind) guidelines. These guidelines allow you to evaluate whether this particular liberty is God’s will FOR YOU, or His “best” for you. It doesn’t necessarily mean “don’t do it” if you can’t answer these questions affirmitavely, but it does give you an objective way to evaluate the liberty at hand. Let’s look at a few questions to ask when exercising liberty:

  • Does is edify everyone involved?
    1 Corinthians 10:23-24 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. (NKJV)

    Besides myself, is everyone who may be touched or influenced by my exercise of this liberty edified in their Christian walk? Does this liberty fit the Biblical standard that all things should be done with the goal of edifying the Body of Christ (2Cor 12:19; Eph 4:29)?

  • Am I imitating Christ in what I want to do?
    1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (NKJV)

    Mature Christians are to imitate Christ so that others may learn to be more Christ-like by imitating you. Is this liberty contrary to Christ’s example or attributes? Will those who follow my example become more like Christ or less if they mimic my exercise of the particular liberty I’m considering?

  • Does the exercise of this liberty exalt God and honor Jesus?
    1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (NKJV)

    When I act on this liberty, is God honored? Is the Lord exalted? Is the reputation and image of genuine Christianity sustained? Is the glory of God revealed and spread through this liberty?

  • Will taking this liberty harm or inhibit my Christian witness?
    Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. (NKJV)

    For those unbelievers who are watching, will the exercise of this liberty draw them closer to God? Or will it turn their mind away from Him towards yet another worldly or fleshly pursuit? Does this liberty in any way make me hypocritical or wishy-washy about my faith or standard of holy living?

  • Is this liberty excessive?
    Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (NKJV)

    Does this liberty “slow me down” in my effort to become more like Christ? Will it be a distraction in the work I do for the Lord? Will it be yet another worldly care and concern that will rob me of time and emotional resources? Is there a good chance it might ensnare us and lead us into something that is unquestionably sinful or hindering to our Christian walk?

  • What kind of example is this setting for weaker or new Christians, my family and those who look to me?
    Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. (NKJV)

    Will those weaker Christians who see my example be made stumble? Will those who are influence, mentored or taught by me be made weaker in their faith because of my choices? If I choose to engage in this liberty, am I ignoring the spiritual needs and hang-ups of newer or less mature Christians and simply not care what effect it has on them? Is my liberty in this area more important than being compassionate about their weakness?

  • Does it help my life, hinder or hurt it?
    1 Corinthians 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. (NKJV)

    Even though there is no moral, fleshly or Godly reason to avoid this liberty, overall does this liberty help my walk with Christ? Is it expediant with my goal to become more like Christ? Is it something that improves me overall as a Christian?

Of course we could name a dozen other principles to consider but this is a good start. Don’t turn this list into some sort of legalistic checklist. They are guiding principles and considerations to help you evaluate “the best” God would have for you. The “liberty” you are considering does not become sin just because it doesn’t measure up to questions like these. It just may be that this liberty is not the very best, or the highest standard; or, there may not be any way to actually know the answer to these questions for every situation. Sometimes, the liberty you are considering may simply not be substantial enough to even warrant taking so much time evaluating it.

In matters of true liberty, you only have to answer to God, not other people, not a church organization, not somebody’s checklist. One one hand this is very liberating, on the other, the responsibility and standard is much higher because you can’t play games with God, you can’t fool Him and you can’t successfully hide fleshly motivations. God knows what is really going on down in your heart when you exercise your liberty and that is MUCH more serious that some arbitrary compliance (sincere or not) to some manmade checklist.

Christian liberty is not “I’m free to live how I want”.
It is “I’m free to live however God truly leads me.”

When it comes to matters of liberty, God judges the motivation of your heart. The execution of the activity is merely a by-product of what is in your heart. Christian liberty is not “I’m free to live how I want, stay out of my business”. It is “I’m free to live however God truly leads me.” That is REAL liberty.

Tomorrow we’ll look at what Paul says about how we are to exercise our liberty.

Lord God, Help us to know about the true liberty found in Christ. Help us to know how to enjoy it, how to let others enjoy it, and to know the difference between liberty and essentials. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Do you ever ask “should I?” and put some real thought behind it? What questions do you ask yourself? Do you have an “it’s nobody’s business!” mentality or do you consider how exercising your Christian freedom may impact those around you?

Application: Liberty in Christ is one of the greatest blessings God has provided. It frees us from the bondage of religion and men, it frees us from fear, it allows us to enjoy a life of freedom in Christ. It is not a license to sin or abuse other’s liberty. In order to enjoy our freedom and allow others to enjoy theirs, we must learn what Christian liberty is from Scripture and how to properly exercise it.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



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Independence Day – To Liberty Or Not To Liberty – Part 2

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Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. (NKJV)

When talking about Christian liberty, one of the most common questions is “how do you know what falls into liberty, and what doesn’t?” It really boils down to a couple of things. First, is there clear commandment, principle or instruction from God’s Word? Second, is it an “essential” of Christianity and what are the essentials?

It could be argued that any clear command from Scripture becomes an “essential” and in a sense that would be correct but for the purpose of this lesson, we’ll define an essential as a truth, if changed or denied, would constitute a different Gospel, teach salvation differently than found in Scripture or change the essence of who the revealed persons of God, Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are.

Here are some examples of “essentials”, any one of which, if changed or discarded, would substantially change revealed Truth in Scripture and constitute a different message than what God has given us. This is not a comprehensive list, but one that adequately demonstrates the point:

  • Inspiration of Scripture – the written Word of God was supernaturally and divinely orginated although God used created men to “write” it (2Tim 3:16-17; Psalms 19)
  • Creation – all things are created except God, and by God as accurately recorded and plainly spoken in Scripture (Genesis; Col. 1:16)
  • Sinfulness of Man – created man sinned and sin corrupted God’s perfection creation bringing the curse of sin on all mankind (Rom 3:9-19)
  • Substitution – man cannot atone for his sin and spotless, uncorrupted substitute is necessary to pay the penalty of our sin (Heb 10:10)
  • Imputation – the righteousness of Christ is imparted to true Believers; the only way that a sinful human can be made righteousness and be in God’s presence (Rom 5:12-19)
  • The Person of Jesus – He is the Son of God, preeminent in the universe, the Creator of all, virgin born incarnate man, fully man, fully God, lived/died/rose again
  • The Attributes of God – Creator, omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere in all times), omnipotent (all powerful), eternal (no beginning or end; uncreated)

These are the sort of truths that are non-negotiable. To change them would change the very nature of Christianity thus we are not at “liberty” (as Christ-followers) to decide we believe (or not), teach (correctly or not), contradict or speak casually (as if not really important) about such truths. Truth is under attack today, in particular, the very idea that there are ANY non-negotiable (absolute) truths or that truth can even be know (look for an upcoming series on this topic). Christian liberty has become relativistic, changing with the culture to fit the current social mood, popular Christian fad or in a negative sense, the current reigning legalism. To claim absolute truth or non-negotiable Christian beliefs is considered the heighth of arrogance and interolance today.

Essentials don’t steal our freedom;
in truth, they are liberating and give us hope.

For the true Christian, non-negotiable essentials provide us with a common anchor and baseline to measure faith and practice. The non-negotiables are hardly restrictive or legalistic; in reality, they provide us with real freedom and liberty because we don’t have to WONDER what is actually true and what is not. The essentials allow us to proceed in our Christian walk with confidence, assurance and hope.

Because God Said So

The other measure of what constitutes liberty is the simple question of “has God spoken clearly on the matter?” If yes, we are not free to choose our own way, circumstances or not. We must obey God regardless of our agreement, understanding or the cost. For example:

  • Don’t get drunk (Eph 5:18)
  • Don’t fornicate or commit adultery (Eph 5:3)
  • Don’t forsake meeting with your Christian family (Heb 10:25)
  • Don’t be divisive (Titus 3:10)
  • Don’t steal (Eph 4:28)
  • Don’t lie (Eph 4:25)
  • Don’t sue your Christian family (1Cor 6:1-8)
  • Don’t speak corrupt words (Eph 4:29-31)

If you can find a Scripture that gives you clear instruction, then you are not at liberty to choose a course of action that contradicts the instruction. Scripture may tell you:

  • No, don’t do it
  • Yes, it’s okay
  • You can do it, but only this way
  • You can do it with conditions
  • Don’t do it unless…

If you find in God’s Word a passage that clearly and specifically addresses your situation or question, then you must do as God says. There is no “liberty” in the presence of plain direction from Scripture.

There is no liberty in the presence of clear command.

Notice I said PLAIN and CLEAR direction. This is where we must exercise some discernment about what truly is plain and clear, and what may just be plain and clear in our own mind. For example, the Bible PLAINLY teaches you may not get drunk. The Bible does not CLEARLY teach it is wrong to have a glass of wine or drink a beer. “Wait a minute Brent! The Bible says [insert your 20 verses here that support your argument]. Any Christian who drinks alcohol is sinning!”. The fact is, there is no Bible verse that commands us to never consume alcohol in any form or any amount, constituting sin if we violate that command.

Getting drunk is not a matter of liberty. Having a glass of wine is a matter for each Christian (“liberty”) to prayerfully and with a Spirit-led conscience to decide for themselves individually. Why? Because we do not have a direct commandment concerning it.

Other common concerns and questions that many Christians seem to think are NOT a matter of liberty but in truth, we have no Biblical commands for:

  • Smoking
  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Choice of schools (public, private, Christian, home)
  • Clothing (women in pants?)
  • Hair (long, short, none)
  • Entertainment
  • Business

RESIST THE URGE TO SEND ME YOUR “PROOF” THAT THE BIBLE DOES HAVE SPECIFIC COMMANDS ON THESE MATTERS. If you’re still in that mindset, you’re missing the point. Yes, the Bible may have passages that have helped lead YOU to the fully convinced conclusion that smoking a cigar or sending your child to public schools is wrong. However, that is a conclusion you have drawn NOT from a Bible verse that says “thou shalt not partaketh of thine tobacco” because the verse doesn’t exist. There are verses about your body being the temple of the Holy Spirit and your Christian witness in front of others. Those verses may have convicted YOU that smoking a cigar is wrong. That is a matter of liberty that you are fully convinced about (a lesson is coming in this series about “fully convinced”). THAT’S GREAT! Follow your conscience but don’t bind YOUR conviction on others in the matters of liberty (absence of a clear command). That dear friends is LEGALISM, plain and simple.

If you are of the opposite conclusion (it’s okay to smoke a cigar), don’t you bind your conclusion on others either and don’t be a stumbling block to weaker Christians. That dear friends, is LICENSE, plain and simple.

Are there specific commands that tell us exactly what every Christian should believe concerning these things? No. Are there principles to consider about each of them. You bet. Principles are what guide our final decision in the matters of liberty and that is where we will pick up tomorrow. We’ll consider some principles that help us in the quest for Godly liberty and then we’ll finish the series over a couple more days by looking at how Paul instructs us to exercise our liberty.

Lord God, Help us to know about the true liberty found in Christ. Help us to know how to enjoy it, how to let others enjoy it, and to know the difference between liberty and essentials. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Do you have strong beliefs about things like smoking, drinking, dancing, music, schools, clothes, hair etc? Do you believe other people are SINNING if they do the opposite of what you believe? What is the difference in believing they are sinning versus believing they have made the wrong conclusion? Can you define the essentials of Christianity? Would you know one if you heard it?

Application: Liberty in Christ is one of the greatest blessings God has provided. It frees us from the bondage of religion and men, it frees us from fear, it allows us to enjoy a life of freedom in Christ. It is not a license to sin or abuse other’s liberty. In order to enjoy our freedom and allow others to enjoy theirs, we must learn what Christian liberty is from Scripture and how to properly exercise it.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



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Independence Day – Part 1

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Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. (NKJV)

As July 4th – Independence Day, Liberty Day, Freedom Day – approaches in America, I find myself with mixed emotions. On the one hand we are still the great land of opportunity and arguably have the most freedom in the world to create, or waste, what we do with our lives. On the other, the freedoms that once made America the greatest exporter of the Gospel, benevolence and hope in the history of the world are increasingly being given up for comfort, security and hedonism. Liberty Day has become a day for both celebrating and concern.

As I was thinking about this series, I had been contemplating writing a series for July 4th on civic liberty, government and social responsibility as it pertains to Christian living. Then I heard a sermon from my Pastor/Brother, Bruce Hess (www.wildwoodchurch.org) from Romans 14 which was an introduction to a lesson about “Grace: Principles for Pursuing Godliness” (which I fully intend to steal and present to you after he finishes the series!). In the mean time, it got me thinking about REAL liberty, freedom and independence – God’s version.

So as we approach “Independence Day” in America, I would like to take you day by day into the liberty that Jesus paid for on the cross. By July 4th, I would like for us all to have a deeper, fuller and more practical understanding of our liberty in Christ which is one of the GREATEST blessings God provides us.

  • Liberty frees us from “religion”
    Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. (NKJV)

    Religion in this context is the effort of man to please God APART from the way God has ordained. Man-made religions require that you follow regulations, rules and restrictions that are meant to earn you favor with “god”, whoever or whatever they claim that to be. True Christian liberty removes “religion” and replaces it with “relationship” (between us and the Creator).

  • Liberty cultivates a personal relationship with God
    2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (NKJV)

    I’ve often heard asked “why didn’t God just give us a list of rules and tell us exactly what we can and can’t do?” Why? Because that would simply make God a taskmaster or manager, and not our Father. By having to “work out our salvation” (Phil 2:12) we turn to God for Truth, guidance and we cultivate a relationship WITH Him, that makes us more LIKE Him.

  • Liberty cultivates relationship and love between Christians
    Galatians 5:13 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. (NKJV)

    Genuine Christian liberty is practiced in an atmosphere of service and motivated by love. By loving and serving one another, we cultivate our relationships among Christian brethren allowing and enjoying the liberty Christ bought for us.

  • Liberty allows us not to judge or police our Christian family concerning things that fall into the realm of liberty
    1 Corinthians 10:29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? (NKJV)

    When we allow liberty to exist, it frees us from having to run around and worry about what liberties other Christians choose. If someone drinks a glass of wine, we don’t have to get all bothered. If a family sends their kids to public schools, we don’t have to fret about it. If someone listens to contemporary Christian music rather than hymns, we don’t have to plan how we will correct them. Liberty allows us to have confidence in the Lord’s pleasure in what we have decided is “okay” for us, and be content that what others have decided is between them and the Lord – in the areas that fall into “liberty” (non-essentials).

  • Liberty frees us from the curse of the law
    Galatians 3:12-13 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), (NKJV)

    The sacrifice of our Lord Jesus freed us from the laws and regulations necessary to constrain sin from an external starting point. Having been freed from the curse, our external behavior is now determined by the internal indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who guides our conscience as we learn and study God’s written word. Liberty freed us from the myriads of lists and regulations that the Jewish leaders had developed. Sometimes this blessing is lost on us today because we have very little real knowledge about how intricate, complex and “unkeepable” the Law really was. It goes back to the question “why doesn’t God just give us a list?” The Pharisee’s attempted to created this “list” and it was a complete failure and made hypocrites of all who tried to comply.

  • Liberty frees us from the fear of death
    Hebrews 2:14-15 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (NKJV)

    We are freed from the fear of death or condemnation. The liberty we have in Christ is – guess what? Liberty. As we live our life, we are free to really “live”, not as a license to sin (as we will see in another lesson) but free from the fear of death, free from the fear of condemnation.

  • Liberty frees us from the bondage of other men
    1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; (NKJV)

    Our liberty in Christ frees us from the bondage of MAN who would go beyond God’s Word and bind us with regulations, rules and lists that God chose not create. Whether from a church, a denomination, your family or any religion, Christ-purchased liberty frees us from the necessity of any bondage that other men would attempt to lay on us.

  • Liberty frees us from corruption
    Romans 8:21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (NKJV)

    When sin entered God’s creation, it began a cycle of unstoppable corruption in everything: relationships, physical creation, behavior, society and our eternal destination. All things became subject to the curse of sin suffering an unavoidable degradation into Godlessness, disarray and destruction. The work of Jesus Christ frees us from the corruption of sin and provides the liberty and freedom to enjoy God’s creation, His blessing and His ultimate reward: salvation.

Why is understanding liberty important?

Isn’t it just a “live and let live” attitude? Not even close. Liberty scares alot of people. The fleshly-immature use liberty as a license to sin. They cite their liberty in Christ as a defense for lackadaisical holiness and unchecked worldliness. Paul addresses this:

Galatians 5:12-13 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! 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. (NKJV)

Do not use liberty as an excuse to indulge the flesh. It is an insult to Christ’s sacrifice. It’s like taking the $1000.00 your family gave you as a wedding present and buying drugs with it. “It’s my money, I can do with it whatever I want!” Yep, that’s liberty alright – liberty misused. Same thing for Christians – liberty used to indulge in sin is liberty misused, and grace abused.

Liberty used to indulge in sin is
liberty misused and grace abused.

On other side are the “prideful-immature”, scared spitless of liberty because it means they have lost control of how OTHER people live their lives, proud of their own display of “holiness”. This is legalism: creating rules and regulations that you bind on other Christians simply because YOU are fully convinced this is how God wants you to live (we’ll talk more about this idea of being “fully convinced” in an upcoming lesson). Legalism is the attempt to enforce holiness externally using lists of rules that God Himself did not create. Legalism is just as dangerous and immature spiritually as using liberty as an excuse to sin.

Ignorance or misunderstanding Christian liberty leads to either “license” or “legalism”. So it is important to know what liberty in Christ is, and how to properly exercise it. As we approach the 4th of July, let’s walk together and find out what TRUE liberty is – found only in Christ – unaffected by politics, economics or declining societies.

Tomorrow we will look at a sampling of “ESSENTIALS” with the goal of learning that NON-essentials fall into the realm of liberty. The rest of the series will focus on how Paul instructs us to employ and allow liberty in Christ.

Lord God, Help us to know about the true liberty found in Christ. Help us to know how to enjoy it, how to let others enjoy it, and to know the difference between liberty and essentials. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Which side have you fallen on, if either? Do you find yourself wanting, following or creating a man-made list of rules to ensure holiness? Do you find yourself criticizing other Christians who may differ in their liberty concerning non-essentials? Do you simply think that you have figured out, or belong to a church that has figured out, every standard of Christian living and deviating from it is sin, for you, and for everyone else? Or, do you simply have no care about holy living at all citing your Christian liberty as the reason everyone else can just “butt out” and not “judge you”?

Application: Liberty in Christ is one of the greatest blessings God has provided. It frees us from the bondage of religion and men, it frees us from fear, it allows us to enjoy a life of freedom in Christ. It is not a license to sin or abuse other’s liberty. In order to enjoy our freedom and allow others to enjoy theirs, we must learn what Christian liberty is from Scripture and how to properly exercise it.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



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