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 Vol. 6, No. 11 

November 2004

~ Page 9 ~

Called for Freedom

By E. Russell King

One of the greater privileges enjoyed by American citizens is the freedom (liberty) guaranteed by the Constitution of this great country. Many of our noble citizens have given the ultimate (their physical lives) to ensure a continuance of this prized possession. How often and fervently we should thank Jehovah God for being so blessed in this time of the world.

Yet, there is another freedom enjoyed by Christians that far exceeds the freedom enjoyed by the citizens of this great nation; it is a freedom from the bondage of sin that gets its strength from law (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:56).

Every person who perceives the terribleness of sin and its destructive bondage is made to rejoice for the redemptive work of Jesus. Our Lord by his death, burial and resurrection broke the bondage of sin for all who die to sin, who are buried with him in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-6, 16-17). This freedom is obtained through the "faith of Christ," i.e., the Gospel of Christ, and is enjoyed so long as one remains in/under the "constitution" of the kingdom of heaven. "For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1 ASV). The apostle Paul wrote this admonition to the churches in Galatia to prevent them from returning to the Law of Moses for justification. They were falling under the persuasion of Judaizing teachers to practice circumcision and keeping the Law in order to be saved. The apostle told them that when they so do they have fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4) because they have returned to the bondage of the Law. They have, therefore, forfeited the freedom that is in Christ Jesus.

Just as the freedom enjoyed in America requires adherence to civil laws, even so freedom in Christ requires adherence to spiritual laws. The false claim made by some that Christians, because they "were called for freedom" (Galatians 5:13), are not under any law contradicts Scripture (cf. Galatians 6:2; et al). That claim is a misuse of Scripture and works out to allow a conduct based upon one's personally established moral values while disregarding the inspired writer's warning that freedom may not be used "for an occasion to the flesh" (Galatians 5:13). A Christian may not do from a fleshly view "the things that you please" (Galatians 5:17 NAS). In fact, the writer then gives a lengthy list of fleshly deeds that preclude one's right to inherit the kingdom of God (vss. 19-21), ending the list with a blanket statement "and such like."

Yes, Christians have been called for freedom, freedom from the curse of the Law and the bondage of sin. But, that freedom requires a close adherence to the Law of Christ. James wrote, "But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25). The apostle Paul put this in the context of a woman who is freed from the law of her husband upon his death and is then free to be married to another. He wrote, "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another -- to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God" (Romans 7:1-7). Thus, being married to Christ (being under law to Christ), one comes out of the bondage of death.

Being free from the Law allows one to come into the blessing of the promise made to Abraham through the faith (system) that is in Christ Jesus (cf. Galatians 3:7-9). "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).

When one is in Christ by virtue of being baptized into his death (Romans 6:3), then that one ". . .has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:7). That one is now ". . .alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:11). The bondage of sin has been broken through the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. That cleansing power is continually operative upon all who continue to "walk in the light" and who will confess their sins, seeking forgiveness for having transgressed the Law of Christ. Then "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). That is the rich, priceless blessing of having been called for freedom!Image

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