Live As Free People
Live as people who are free, not using our freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
1 Peter 2:16 (ESV)
When bondage masquerades as liberty we must be on alert in order to escape the trap. It usually occurs when we have incorrectly identified our captors. If we think that our problem is authority or even rules, we will define liberty in terms of being out from under authority and beyond rules. Many have celebrated their presumed liberation only to find themselves deeper in bondage.
The salvation in Christ Jesus sets us free from sin and its effects. We are forgiven. Our debt is paid. Our guilt is assuaged. Our shame is covered. Our alienation is eliminated. Our hostility toward God is stopped. We are reconciled to God and his creation. There is much to celebrate here. We are no longer legal slaves to sin. We have been born again of the imperishable seed of God’s word and are enabled to walk in his ways, discovering the previously hidden treasures of his glory. We should guard this liberty more diligently than we would a boatload of gold.
But grace does not set us free from its own expressions. It is the grace of God that has established order in his creation. We are not free to disregard that order. God has graciously delegated authority to human institutions for the sake of peaceful life on earth. We are not free to ignore these. God has established a sense of morality in our conscience as reflections of his own nature. We violate that at great cost. It does no good to cover such independence and rebellion with religious language and ritual. We have been commissioned and empowered to live under the law of Christ. His summation of such law is that we are to love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves.
We are not free until we are full-fledged servants of Christ. There is no such thing as being so free that we have no master. Either sin and the power behind it is our master or Jesus is our master. In submission to him, we find our true identity and destiny. All ambitions and passions are rightly satisfied when we live to serve him. Using “grace language” to cover for independent living is offensive to God and man. We don’t have to cover when we have been covered by his love. We don’t need to prove our freedom by indulging in those things that fear used to prohibit. We are truly free in Christ—free to serve him with joy.