Freedom is a wonderful thing… Sure beats bondage and slavery! If you want a commentary on that just check out world history and our own history as a nation. It’s why we have a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution, and a Bill of Rights in the United States… FREEDOM!
But irresponsible freedom – unbridled freedom – the selfish exercise of freedom is a dangerous thing… even a destructive and despotic thing! Irresponsible freedom infringes on the rights of others and tramples on their freedom.
In a passage I read this morning Apostle Paul told the believers in Galatia, “For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery!” (Galatians 5:1) There had been people who had tried to bring them into bondage to a religious system that insisted, in order to be “right with God” – pleasing to Him – they had to keep the law with all of its requirements. Paul urged them to recognize that Jesus Christ, their “sin-sacrifice,” had set them free from that approach through faith! They should “stand firm in their freedom” and “not submit again” to bondage to that system!
But on the other hand, Paul saw the risk… Some of those who had experienced “freedom in Christ” might be tempted to “flaunt their freedom” at the expense of others! So in the same passage a few verses later he cautioned them… “You were called to freedom! Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh [your own sinful self-will], but THROUGH LOVE SERVE ONE ANOTHER. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall LOVE your neighbor as yourself!’” (Galatians 5:13-14)
Christian freedom is wonderful – Freedom in Christ is an incredible liberating way to know, love and serve the Lord! But it must never be polluted and poisoned with irresponsible, unloving, self-will!!!
So as a responsible Christian, enjoying “freedom in Christ”… I must ask myself some tough questions: Are there things I feel free to do that might be a stumbling block to a fellow Christian… Is there entertainment I feel free to attend that may compromise my testimony… Are their beverages I may feel free to drink that may lead a fellow believer back into bondage… Is there language or humor I may share that could damage my witness… Is their clothing I may choose to wear that may send the wrong message about me to others and lead them into lust. These are just a few questions that responsible Christians who enjoy “freedom in Christ” may want to ask themselves. “Now I’ve gone to meddl’n!”