This week we are going to look at one more benefit of the Christian life which was accomplished by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this study we will learn about Christian Liberty.
Liberty literally means freedom from restraint. So what is it that the Christian has received freedom from?
Liberty – Freedom from the Law
• Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the ________________ wherewith Christ hath made us ____________, and be not entangled again with the ____________________________.
Apparently there were men in Galatia who were trying to convince the church that circumcision was necessary for the Christian. Paul takes the occasion to remind the Galatians that they are no longer under the law (the yoke of bondage), but have been made free from the law by Christ.
• Rom 7:4. Q. How have we been made dead to the law?
When Christ died as our perfect sacrifice, he fulfilled the law. All the legal requirements of the Old Testament were satisfied by the life, death and resurrection of Christ. As a result, those who believe in Christ are made free from the law.
• Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life ________________________hath made me ________________________ of sin and death.
Q. According to Rom 7:6, now that we have received this liberty, how are we to serve? How are we not to serve?
The relationship which Jesus has now given us is not a legal relationship but a love relationship. The ceremonial and sacrificial laws of the Old Testament all pointed to the coming Messiah, when he came he fulfilled them and therefore did away with them. The moral laws are a different matter.
The moral law is not done away with. Morality does not stem from the law, it stems from the person of God. He is holy and the morality by which he demands man govern himself is a reflection of his holiness.
In our society we are seeing laws changed which once upheld moral principles. We believe that if we change the laws we are changing morality, this is not true. God’s moral laws are transcendant, they will always exist because they are rooted in his very person. God’s moral law does not evolve or change with society, it is firmly grounded in his unchanging character and taught in his word.
This new liberty does not free us from God’s morality, but it does change the method by which he chooses to accomplish it. In the Old testament there was outward pressure from the law, in the New Testament there is inward pressure from the spirit.
The Holy Spirit – The Source of Liberty
• 2 Cor 3:17. Q. What is necessary for there to be liberty?
Look again at • Romans 8:2. Q. What has made us free from the law of sin and death?
• Write out Gal 5:18
The Christian has been freed from the bondage of the law, but this liberty does not mean that we are free to do whatever we want. We are free from the law but have become servants of Christ.FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
• 2 Cor 5:14. Q. What should constrain (or restrict) us?
Q. How should we now live? Why?
The Christian, although free from the law, has entered into a new relationship which should govern his actions. The motivation for Christian service should not be the fear of punishment, but should be the answer to Christ’s love for us.
Christian men and women have struggled with this truth since New Testament times. The temptation for man is to intermingle elements of legalism into this new love relationship. For the Galatians, it was the practice of circumcision, for others it was the keeping of the Sabbath, for others still it was the dietary laws. Man has always sought to add works to grace in order to satisfy their desire to be in control, and to feel as though they could satisfy God by their own actions. AND TO MEASURE Even some modern denominations seek to put a yoke of bondage on their followers by deemphasizing a life surrendered to the spirit and ephasizing outward rules, regulations and standards. This violates Christian liberty.
The Limits of Liberty
Liberty should not be used to indulge the flesh
• Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto __________________; only use not liberty for an ________________________________, but by love serve one another.
The word occasion used here means starting-point. We should never use our Christian liberty has a platform or justification for indulging our flesh.
• Write out Rom 13:14
Although we are not legally required to do anything, a right relationship with God, a pure conscience, a proper testimony, and a right response to the substitutionary death of Christ beg us to live spiritual lives, unspotted by the flesh.
The liberty which we now have as Christians is not a license to do whatever we want, but it is the freedom to serve God by choice and out of our love for Him.
• John 14:15. Q. Under what condition does Jesus desire we keep his commandments?
• 1 John 5:2. Q. How do we know that we love the children of God?
Do you struggle with living a life surrendered to God? According to scripture, this is not due to a lack of obedience or discipline, but to a lack of love.
Liberty should not be exercised when it harms weaker Christians
In 1 Corinthians 8 we learn that the church at Corinth had questions for Paul regarding the eating of meat sacrificed to idols. Paul indicated that since these idols were not recognized as God and the eating of meat offered to them was not an act of worship, that the Christian had liberty to eat. Q. What limits did Paul recommend to the Corinthians regarding this liberty in 1 Cor 8:9?
• 1 Cor 8:9-13. Q. Who was Paul concerned for in these verses?
Q. According to verse 13, what was Paul willing to do in order to protect the weaker Christian?
Q. Was Paul required to make this decision? ___________.
Paul was willing to forego some of his Christian liberty in order to protect the weaker Christian. Although he saw no direct command in scripture to avoid eating meat sacrificed to idols, he did not flaunt his Christian liberty and make it a subject of debate. At times, we must recognize weaker Christians and out of a loving spirit be willing to sacrifice certain liberties in order to protect their spiritual walk.
• Romans 14:1-3. Q. Who did Paul tell the Romans to receive?
The weak Christian in this passage is one who has not availed himself to his Christian liberty. Although the dietary laws were done away with by Christ, this Christian was uneasy with beginning a free and open diet.
Q. What attitude was the strong Christian to have toward the weak?
Q. What attitude was the weak Christian to have toward the strong?
Look now at • 1 Corinthians 10:23,24 where we see another example of a loving limitation of liberty.
Q. What things were lawful to Paul?________________.
Q. Although all things were lawful they were not __________________.
Expedient means “fit or suitable for a purpose”. Just because Paul Knew he had liberty to practice somethings, he recognized that those things were not always helpful in reaching others for Christ. For this reason, he was willing to abstain from them.
Q. Considering verse 24, with what attitude should we practice our liberty?
We should thank God for the new liberty that we have in Christ. We are free from the bondage of the law. Our responsibility now is to live a spirit-controlled life where our Christian liberty is practiced in a way which always glorifies God.