We Were Called to Freedom

Galatians 5:13-15 ESV

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

Saved, but Sinning Guilt Free?

A lot of people today, at least here in America, are proud of what they believe is their salvation from sin, so they boast in it, claiming that now that they have believed in Jesus all their sins are forgiven (past, present, and future) and so they are no longer under condemnation, and so heaven is now guaranteed them when they die, regardless of how they live their lives on this earth. But what is that saying to God and to other people?

It is definitely a slap in the face to God/Jesus who gave his life up for us on that cross to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can now live with purpose and in holiness and righteousness in the power of God. It is telling God that they have no need of him now that he saved them from their sins, and so now they can go on living in sin guilt free without conscience or consequence, so they believe.

But what is it saying to their spouses and to their children and to their neighbors and to their co-workers and to other Christians with whom they fellowship on a weekly basis? It is saying to them that they have the freedom now to sin against them any way they want because God freed them from the guilt and punishment of sin and so God now is pleased with them no matter what they do. But is that right? No!

And there are a lot of people who believe this way. I have read what they say on social media and in the blogging world and on Christian discussion sites and elsewhere, and this is their attitude about sin. And even some of their heroes of the faith are teaching them this, as well (1). And they all seem to repeat the same exact dialogue which they are all hearing from the same ultimate source which is being trickled down through the “churches.”

But if you believe that your salvation frees you to now continue in sin guilt free and that God will not judge you for your sinful practices, then you need to read the Scriptures (in context). Also that attitude is totally selfish for it cares nothing for what your sin does to other people, for when you sin you are sinning against God and others, or at least others are being affected by your sin in one way or another. And sin hurts other people.

Through Love Serve One Another

What was described above is the opposite of love, and it is the opposite of God’s love, too. A loving God is not going to save you from your sins and then give you a stamp of approval to keep on in your sins guilt free. He is not going to give you permission to ignore him, to refuse to obey his commands, and to treat him and others with contempt. God’s love frees us from our slavery to sin so we can walk in holiness and righteousness.

Now, this is not saying that he demands absolute sinless perfection or BAM! – A knock over the head. He is a merciful and gracious God. But his grace instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return. For Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

And his word does teach us that if we walk (in practice, in conduct) in sin, and if we do not walk in righteousness and in obedience to his commands, and if we do not turn away from our sins to follow Jesus in obedience that we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. For those who make a practice of sin will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. They will reap destruction, instead. But we’ve been warned, and that is also love!

But sinning against others and against God habitually and deliberately and premeditatedly is the opposite of love. It is hate. And it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you do. Your good deeds are not going to outweigh your bad deeds. The only way you can be free of your sins is to surrender your lives to Jesus Christ, let him be Lord, and die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness in his power and strength until the very end.

So, you need to put off hate and put on love, put off lying and tell the truth, put off lust and put on purity, put off adultery and put on faithfulness, put off cheating and put on giving, put off secretiveness and put on openness, and put off wickedness and put on righteousness – all which can be done in the power of God who saved us and who called us to a holy calling. For love is not what we feel. It is what we do in consideration of God and others.

But if You Bite and Devour

Many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are still living in deliberate and habitual sin because they want to and because they believe they have permission to, although they know better, and so they are without excuse. So, while they profess faith in Jesus and in his forgiveness of their sins they are continuing to lie, cheat, steal, slander, commit adultery, be engaged in sexual immorality and to do all manner of evil against God and others.

So, this is letting us know that God in no way gives us freedom to keep on in deliberate and habitual sin, especially sin which bites and devours others and which causes others pain and suffering. God is not okay with you cheating on your spouse and lying to him/her. He is not pleased with you as you sit and veg out on pornography and self-gratify. He does not look the other way when you willfully sin against him, no matter what others say.

And God will judge you for your continued sins if you do not repent and obey him. We are all going to be judged by what we do, by our deeds. We are all going to reap what we sow in this life. And if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. And if we sow to please the Spirit, then from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. For if we walk in sin we will die in sin and we will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

And for those here who are being hurt by the willful and deliberate sins of others, cry it out to Jesus and let him heal your wounded hearts and do not let your hurt turn to bitterness. Forgive those who sin against you. Now I am not saying to excuse the sin or to ignore it or to look the other way. Speak the truth in love. Confront the sin. Ask for reconciliation. But if reconciliation is not given do not seek revenge. Leave vengeance to God. Forgive!

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and you are being hurt by the sins of others, also know that God is sovereign over your life and nothing can touch you but what God has allowed it. Also know that God promises us that we will be hated and persecuted and mistreated for the sake of righteousness. So give it all over to the Lord and rest in him and let him heal your wounded hearts and spirits and then keep loving even your enemies to the glory of God. And the peace of God will overflow into your hearts and lives.

His Tender Mercies

An Original Work / January 26, 2014

Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.

Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.

Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.

(1) http://www.sermonillustrator.org/illustrator/sermon6/cancelled_insurance.htm

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

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