Promises and Secrets

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A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



Freedom in Christ

VIEWPOINT



Absolutely, we have freedom in Christ. The question is, freedom from what? Most "Christians" think we are free from rules and obedience, while all the time saying "What do you mean? We obey God in everything!" A few say, "Freedom from sin.", but then forget what sin entails and how you identify it.

FACT



Truly believing in Christ sets us free.


BLUE VIEWPOINT



Waking up this morning, a thought presented itself that I could not ignore.

Lately I have been hearing more statements about our "freedom" in Christ, wondering what that phrase means to the average Christian. I asked a few what they think it means. Answers range from "Freedom from the law", to "Freedom from worrying about death."

Common stands for no Christian accountability

I searched Google for some examples and found this in the search results for "What is meant by 'Freedom in Christ'?":

What happened to the Biblical concept that we cannot only follow the law to be saved? (Romans 2:13
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

) Note that this passage from Paul is in the current tense, not past tense. Why must people redefine the concept of freedom to make it mean absolutely nothing? Try being a practicing homosexual, thief or murderer, and believing in Jesus. How far do you think you will get? The only thing missing at the end of the last line from CARM.org above is - "in any way we want to."

It really surprised me when I went to the page and the phrase in the box above is not on the page, only on the search result you see from Google above. I am really curious as to what these people at CARM.org think about a verse in 1 Corinthians they forgot to mention: 1 Cor 9:21
To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law.

. I'm sure they just accidently missed it. So, I emailed the question to them. The response will appear on this page when it comes back to me.

No Ph.D., but still gets it...

My mother, who now lives with us because she is losing her memory, surprised me by answering the question "Freedom from what?" by saying, "Freedom from sin." which is exactly what the Bible says (Acts 13:39
Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

, Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

, Romans 8:1-4
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

). Now, she reads, but does not study, the Bible, and does not remember anything she reads after five minutes because of a memory issue. However, she is right on target with her answer, as far as it goes. To her response I would just add, "...if we are repentant and honestly try, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to keep from sinning." as in Romans 8:4
4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

. How is it that she, one who does not attend church, does not study, and knows very little about the Bible, gets it, but the professionals don't seem to?

Freedom from...what?

Many answer the question, "Freedom from what?" by saying "Freedom from the Law.", and they "quote" Paul by saying they are not under the law. There is a site at PhilDrysdale.com that lists 37 Bible verses that "prove" Christians are not under the law. Rather than list them, I will let you check them out. The list is pretty convincing as shown, but incomplete and deceptive; unless you know that it is partial and appears to choose only the ones that appear to be proving the author's point. Toward the end of the list are some that get to the real point, but by then, you already have in mind what the author of the page wants you to think.

Even the misunderstood translators get it

Even my NIV has a comment on one of the principle verses in Romans 6:14
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

that shows the fallacy of the fantasy interpretations of most "Christian pastors". It says:

6:14 sin shall not be your master. Paul conceived of sin as a power that enslaves, and so personified it. not under law. The meaning is not that the Christian has been freed from all moral authority. He has, however, been freed from the law in the manner in which God's people were under the law in the OT era. Law provides no enablement to resist the power of sin; it only condemns the sinner. But grace enables. under grace. For the disciplinary aspect of grace see Tit 2:11-12
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

.

The only thing that the OT had to guide people was the law. It could never prevent sin, or even give us the strength to resist. However, the grace of God gives us that strength if we use it to stay within the will of God. This Titus verse was not in the list of "freedom" verses on the Phil Drysdale site listed above. The trouble is that most "Christians" attempt to use grace as a way to step out of the will of God (say "Yes" to "ungodliness and worldly passions", and live outside "self-controlled, upright and godly lives"), but still get all the benefits of those who stay within it.

We don't what?

Another small point about the Phil Drysdale site referenced above. The site has a video explaining how we "do not have a sinful nature". He describes how the very act of accepting Christ has "circumcised" that sinful nature from us so that we no longer have to worry about it again. If you believe that you can no longer sin because you are a Christian, then you will likely feel free to disobey God (why not, since everyone is doing it?), as long as you "do it in love" or "do it in Christ". It's either that or you feel that accepting Christ frees you from all obedience so it is impossible for you to now sin. That doesn't make sense no matter how you say it.

Also, that does not explain Peter's statement in 2 Peter 2:20
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

about continuing to sin after you accept Christ. Again, why would we be warned about something that supposedly cannot happen?

Only part of the story

My point? There are some Biblical verses that explain the real meaning of the statements about "not being under the law". These are not in the list. They explain that we are free from the condemnation that comes from sin if we repent and "sin no more". It does not say we are free from the one thing that identifies sin - the law. It says that when we try and fail, we have a safety net; not that we have a guarantee of safety if we stop even trying. In the book of 1 Corinthians, the site lists verse 15:56
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

, evidently hoping to condemn the law in our minds, and then moves immediately on to another Book. Somehow the author totally misses the same passage as another "new Christian" site mentioned a few paragraphs above: 1 Corinthians, 9:21
To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law.

. And where is the reference to Romans 2:13
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

?

"But, that can't be..."

So what is Paul talking about here? Is he under "the law" or not? Is he under God's law or Christ's law? Is there a difference? He still claims "freedom in Christ" (Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

), yet is still under God's law and Christ's law. The yoke of slavery of which Paul speaks is the slavery to sin and thinking just the law will save you. According to most churches today, he was only speaking of the law, not sin. However, he was speaking of thinking that, if you follow only the law, it will save you. It never meant that, even in the Old Testament. Why did the author omit these very pertinent passage in his list of "proofs"? Too tough to explain how it fits with his message? Seems pretty straight-forward to me.

What would it be like...?

Imagine what our streets would be like if everyone chose the speed he or she wanted to drive. Well, it is kind of like that now, but say we didn't have policemen around to make people nervous about doing that? Everyone would do their own thing. The only difference would be they would be risking others' lives as well as their own. Those laws keep everyone who follows them in the will of the body that created them. That is the purpose of God's law. Not punishment, or restricting our fun, but preparing us for an eternal life in His care. Those not willing to submit won't belong there.

So, what does "freedom" really mean?

I think it all goes back to the real question about the "freedom" we have in Christ. Freedom from what? Paul himself admits that he has never broken the law (Acts 25:8
Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar."

). That would be Jewish law, temple law, and Roman law. I'm pretty sure there were no other laws around to worry about. How can that be if he was in the same mode as most of the "new Covenant" churches of today? They say they don't have to follow the same laws that Paul followed. I guess that's because they are not Jewish. Then that must mean that if you are not Jewish, you don't have to do anything Paul said. But, of course, we still get to claim the same prize - eternal life - but have no rules to follow in order to do so. But, wait! Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Don't we have to...nah, that would be Jeeewwwiiishhh.

Read what the Book says, don't just listen to your pastor...

Now, if you think that somehow means that Paul only followed the "two new commandments" of Jesus, but didn't break any laws, you might want to look at these verses again, and a bunch of others in the real Bible. Written some 30 years after Christ was killed, this verse says that Paul obeyed all the laws of Rome, the Jews (including sacrifices), and the temple of God. Paul was not even converted until after the death of Christ, so you can't say he didn't know about the "new covenant". His writings are where much of the real New Covenant originated - now modified and re-built on mis-translations or complete omissions of some of his writings. The phrase in 1 Corinthians was written after he had set up the church there. Yet, his claim is that he is still within the guidelines of God's law and Christ's law.

New freedom to break God's laws or follow God's law and live in Christ like Paul? You can't have both at once.





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