Freedom in Christ

(Joshua Elder) #1

In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul is dealing with the freedom that Christians have. The Corinthians had been using their freedom in Christ to sin, and Paul was attempting to correct their understanding of what that freedom is. He says, ““I have the right to do anything,” you say-- but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”-- but not everything is constructive.” Speaking on this passage Harry Ironside spoke about young Christians who would ask him if they were free to do an action. He said this:

“They want to live for God, but they come to me and say, “What do you think of thus and so?” It is generally some kind of amusement. They ask, “Do you think that it is all right for a Christian?” And I always say, “My dear young brother, or my dear young sister, don’t you think that you are turning that around? Don’t ask the question, ‘Is there any harm in it?’ but, ‘Is there any profit in it? Will it really do me good? Would it be a blessing to me physically, spiritually, and in other ways? Will it help me to be a better testimony for Christ?’ If so, do not be afraid of it. But if conscience says, ‘It would not be profitable and it would not be a good testimony to others, it may mislead the weak, it will not lead me toward a deeper knowledge of Christ,’ then say, ‘I cannot, on the principle that the apostle lays down here, and I will avoid it.’” Let Christ be the one supreme Object of the devotion of your heart.”

Sometimes as Christians we can be more concerned about what we should not do, than asking if something is beneficial or constructive as the apostle Paul said. What change would it bring in how we perceive our freedom if we asked not whether something is permissible, but if something is constructive?

Have you found yourself living for what is permissible rather than what is beneficial?


(Dave Kenny) #2

What popped into my mind as I read this post was a conversation that my wife and I had with our children during our devotions last week.

As a parent, I think I often focus on training my children in the ways of ‘permissible’ rather than beneficial. This is something that I will now look to consciously resist. My kids are looking for rules to follow that will please God and please their parents. It struck me when my seven year old sat down for a snack in the middle of the day and asked us “Do I have to pray to God before I can eat this?”

Clearly the pattern of saying grace before we eat and not allowing anyone to eat a meal until we had said grace has imprinted onto my childs heart as a rule.

I thank God for the gift of children as they can expose an imbalance in our spirituality and practices very quickly!


(SeanO) #3

Good example @Dave_Kenny

I really like the following quote from A. W. Tozer:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

One of my friends also commented that even as an adult praying before meals felt legalistic. But I think that the main question to ask is not “Should I pray before meals?”, but “Does my view of God inspire me to pray before meals?”

It is the heart attitude that should lead or fill the action. For just as faith without works is dead - so works without faith is lifeless. Some preachers say - you are a human “being” - not a human “doing”. When who we are is transformed, what we do will have life.

When what we do is informed by a Spirit filled gaze fixed upon the true God, it loses its lifelessness. Ritual becomes resurrection.

For young Christians, I think two simple questions are sufficient:

  1. Can I glorify God while doing X?
  2. Am I putting God and others before myself?

The first question assures it is permissible. The second question challenges them to do what is beneficial and brings the sense of conviction necessary to spur people on to good works.

(Tim Ramey) #4

In these posts, I think we need to be careful about being Pharisaical as well as appearing to be beating our breasts in humility. So, considering that, I feel that I need to be honest by saying that Jesus has done a work in me where I truly want to live for Him. Your post @Joshua_Elder was entitled “Freedom in Christ.” I’d be denying Him if I did not admit that, because of Him, I truly want Jesus to be glorified in this short passage of time that we have been given. It is real freedom because I don’t want to just get by in my walk with Him, I want Jesus to be seen in my life. I truly don’t want just what is permissible, as if it just squeak by.

He does set us free to want to live for Him. Galatians 5 says that “Freedom Christ has set us free”. He’s often called Jesus Christ but here He is called Freedom Christ! I praise Him for being in my life.

It’s difficult sending this because I don’t want to appear that I have got it together. However, I am truly humbled because I know that it’s His work and not mine. I could NEVER make that change of heart but He can and wants to do it in every believer.

(Keldon Scott) #5

@Joshua_Elder great discussion. They say that the road of life and purity is rarely walked in the middle. Rather the fringes of the road are the most trampled. I think the scope and diversity of each and every Journey in Christ has that freedom. What I love about the verse that you highlighted is that each of us may very well have a different call of discipline or restraint. As Christians we go forward with the power of the Resurrection and the gifts of the Holy Spirit and all of the benefits that Paul talks about in the first three chapters of Ephesians. Because of that we want to do and please and glorify our Lord. The next three chapters in Ephesians do a good job of outlining a lot of the things that are expected that we want to honor. But there are many choices such as places we go, alcohol consumption, movies and television programs we engage, amounts of food we eat as well as the type of food to just mention a few categories. Within each one of those there is a breadth of freedom which may very well intentionally be different for you, me, or another. So, the point that you make is well taken. What I love about relationship with Christ is the Spirit calls each of us differently to be attentive in an area that he is molding and chiseling us as individual children of God. While everything may be permissible, God may be calling us to suggest that it is not beneficial in our current walk and or our maturation in relationship.

So sometimes as we help mentor, encourage relationship in Christ, or engage with fellow Christians we can be reminded that God does allow a life of freedom. Our counsel does go forward with love, patience, understanding but the call on our or their heart at the particular time maybe to a pay attention to the tension because the Lord Maybe counseling us to a conclusion that a certain Choice may not be beneficial or constructive.

Great discussion. Thank you