Thursday, May 26, 2005

Too good to be true

Are you skeptical of those who talk about Christian liberty? To many of us, freedom in Christ seems too good to be true. It just doesn't seem possible that the same God who struck down Uzzah, Nadab, and Abihu for breaking rules and regulations under the Old Law could shake heaven and earth with a new covenant not involving such outward rules and regulations. After all, the God of the Bible is the same yesterday, today, and forever, right?

Ah, but does the unchanging nature of God negate the fact that His relationship with His creation has indeed changed dramatically? For those of us who are parents, take note of the fact that our relationship with our children changes as they mature. It should not be surprising, then, that God's relationship with us, his children, has changed. The Old Law, in fact, was merely a schoolmaster to train an immature mankind until the time its rules, regulations, and holy days would be nailed to the cross. And nailed to the cross they are:

    Colossians 2:14 - ...having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (NIV)

    Romans 7:6 - But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (NIV)

Under Christ, with His law written in our hearts, we have true liberty, brothers. Don't doubt it. It is the real thing, not just a mirage to look at with hardened heart and skeptical eyes. Our liberty is not to be used for fulfilling sinful desires, of course, but that makes it no less real. I, for one, think we ought to be creative--innovative, in fact--with our liberty to use it in service to our risen savior. Let's take the shackles off our previous thinking, and use our sincere love for God to serve Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and life. Every fiber of our being should reflect our love and passion for serving the God of heaven.

Liberty is such a powerful craving of the human soul given to us by God. America's founding fathers recognized this and set out to infuse our fledgling society with liberty as one of its core values. This God-given longing also draws us to want to be free from rules and regulations. Those who are not living after the Spirit express their desire for freedom by rebelling against the goodness of God. Those who set out to live a life in accordance with the Spirit express it by embracing the goodness of God, which is a powerful motivator in leading men to repentance.

God is good, my friends. A good father, as Jesus said, gives good gifts to his children. And the gift of liberty, granted when we were freed from our sins by Jesus' death on the cross, is one of the greatest gifts we could have. It is enabling, inspiring, and joyous, not binding, confusing, or discouraging.

So is Christian liberty too good to be true? Not according to the scriptures. Granted, it is far better than we deserve. But what should we expect from our Creator who is the ultimate example of goodness?

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