Promises and Secrets

Promises and SecretsPromises and Secrets

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

Freedom in Christ


Absolutely, we have freedom in Christ. The questions are, "freedom from what?" and "freedom to do 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.


Truly believing in Christ sets us free. (John 8:31-32
31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."



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 must be obedient ot the commands of God, but cannot follow only the law to be saved? (Romans 2:13
13For 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.

) This does not mean that we do not need Christ, but that if we claim faith in Christ and ignore God's laws, we fare no better than if we deny Christ. 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? You cannot ignore the law and expect to get what the Bible says we will never get when disobedient. The only thing missing at the end of the last line from above is - "in any way we want to, regardless of what the Bible says."

It really surprised me to find that the phrase in the box above is not on their actual page, but only on the search result you see from Google above. It would be interesting to see what these people at think about a verse in 1 Corinthians they forgot to mention: 1 Corinthians 9:21
21To 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 lives with us at the time of this writing 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
39Through 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
22But 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
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3For 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, 4in 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
4in 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. But, they forget the quotes from Paul where he says he has never broken the law and that only those who are doers of the law will be saved. (Acts 25:8

, Romans 2:13
13Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar."


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
11For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,


If you hover over the link to the Titus verse in the box, notice what it is that grace does for us. It's does not say that grace allows us to do whatever we want because we are safe in grace. It continues to teach us the will of God and how to resist the pull of the world. All we have to do is identify what is from the world and what is from God.

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. That's the meaning of the term "But grace enables." It does not mean "grace enables us to ignore God's law and do what we want". The Titus 2:11-12
11For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

verses above were 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"). And while doing that, still expect to get all the benefits of those who stay within it. The Scriptures have never said that, but most "Christians" believe it anyway. Ignoring parts of Scripture does not make the truth go away.

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 somehow 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
20If 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. We must remember the definition of sin according to 1 John 3:4
4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

, written well after the death of 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 given on the Drysdale site. These verses 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
13To 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 2:13-14
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. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.)

? As true believers, we are all "not free from God's law but [are] under Christ's law" if we "obey the law" as Paul did.

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

So what is Paul talking about in 1 Corinthians? 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 bound by the requirements of 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 at omit these very pertinent passages in his list of "proofs"? He used Romans 5:20
20The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

to "prove" his point, but ignored Romans 6:1-2
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

, two verses later, which denies his point. Sin is breaking the law, so how would he reconcile that conflict? Too tough to explain how it fits with his message? Seems pretty straight-forward to me. It doesn't fit his message at all because he only presents half of the story. That is also known as leading the flock astray.

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 the lives of others 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.

Think of it this way. Say you built a house with room for thirty people, and advertised that they could live there for free as long as they followed ten simple rules. What would you say if many came to you and said that they wanted to live there, but would not follow all the rules? Most said that they could probably could keep only seven of them. Would you let them in? How about if they promised to keep nine of them? That's almost there. Would you let them in if you were paying their way? God won't. He paid the bill for those who will do it His way, and still has some expectations, just like you would.

So, what does "under the law" really mean?

The concept here is far different than most Christians will understand. (Notice that I did not say "than most Christians understand", but said "will understand". They hear the explanation, but will not accept it.) There is a difference between being "bound by the requirements of the law" and being "under the law".

For example, there is a law that limits the circumstances under which you can fire a gun in the city limits of Vancouver, Washington. Every person who is in the city limits is bound by the requirements of that law. Even if you don't own a gun, you still could possibly borrow one, go out into the street, and fire the gun 10 times. If you do this, you have violated that law that applies to everyone but only affects those who break it. Even before you do that, you are still under the requirements of that law.

However, if you have not fired a gun inside the city limits, you have not violated the law. In this case, the law, which applies to everyone, does not affect those who have not broken it. Therefore, you are not "under the law". When you are under the law, you owe the penalty for violating the law and can be arrested, jailed, and taken to court to pay the penalty. In other words, you are under the power of the law to extract punishment. If you have not broken the law, you are free from its power, even though it still applies to every person while under the jurisdiction area covered by the law.

Its rule applies to everyone, but it only affects those who break it.

Now, what does "freedom" really mean?

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 God's law, temple law, and Roman law. There were no other real laws laws around to worry about except those Oral laws of the "Circumcision party" (Pharisees). Paul called those a legalistic perversion of God's laws. As of the writing of Acts 24:14, Luke quotes Paul as saying:

However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,

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, supposedly 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 died for us, 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 concepts 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, and only one leads to eternal life.

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