Free in Christ

Too many people are looking for a church that pleases them rather than a church that pleases God. When the standard of excellence in the church is “what I like,” there is a horrible tyranny of selfish pursuit. People deceived by this approach think they are being liberated, but they are really being enslaved.
Freedom through Obedience
True freedom can only come through submission to the will of God. Having a standard for truth beyond our own selves is the only way we can have the freedom to function as we ought.
As long as we place our preferences as the standard for Christian faith, we are enslaved by a system which binds us tightly. Understanding the will of God, however, provides a context within which we can be free. As Jesus told his followers, “… If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31,32). In the words of the old Shaker hymn: “‘Tis the gift to be simple; ‘Tis the gift to be free; ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be …”
The law of God facilitates our freedom as persons in the same way traffic laws facilitate our freedom to travel from one side of town to another. Without these laws to regulate us, driving would be encumbered, not liberated.
Freedom through Truth
The difference between self-centered verses God-centered approaches to religion is like the differing purposes of a projector and a flashlight. A projector casts an image with the purpose of fooling your senses into believing something is present which really is not. However engaging the image may be on the screen, it doesn’t really exist. A flashlight, in contrast, reveals reality through illumination. When I go hiking through the woods, can you imagine how useless my flashlight would be if, instead of revealing the truth about the path ahead, it projected a fanciful image of whatever I chose to see at that moment? A projector is appropriate for entertainment, as it is dealing with fantasy. A flashlight is appropriate for illumination, for it reveals reality. God, in His grace, has provided illumination through Scripture. “Your word is a lamp to my feet,” the Psalmist writes, “and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
The Bible does not exist to titillate our flights of fancy, but to inform and direct us in accuracy. This truth is a light which frees us from the darkness of sin and the enslavement of eternal death. In the truth of Scripture we are free to be the people God would have us to be.

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Greg Tidwell

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