As this is my first Blog article for ‘Freedom’ Church, I wanted to look at what Biblical freedom really means. A great scripture about Biblical freedom is the first verse of the chapter we have just been studying in the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ series – Galatians 5.
The NKJV puts it like this:
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
The NLT also puts it very well:
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
Here we are told to stand firm in the true freedom that Christ bought for us with His blood on the cross (John 8:36). We are also told not to get tangled up in the bondage of religious rules and regulations. Following these might lead us into thinking we are pleasing God when in fact we are not (see Col 2:16-23).
Does that mean there are no principles and laws that we need to obey as Christians and that we are free to do whatever we like?! Of course not – that same chapter goes on to say the following:
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Gal 5:13 NLT
Biblical freedom is not anarchy but living within the boundaries set by God and we can determine these from the principles contained in His Word. By understanding these truths and staying within them we can truly experience our freedom in Christ (John 8:32) and enjoy life in all its fullness (John 10:10b).
A while ago I heard a great illustration of this principle. The story was told of a school whose small playground was surrounded on three sides by busy roads. It was also bordered by a high and solid fence so when the children came out at break time, although they might hear the muffled noise of the traffic, they could not see it. They charged around that playground enjoying themselves as children do, they kicked balls against the fence and lent on it as they chatted to each other. The fast moving vehicles just the other side did not bother them in the slightest.
One day the school decided to replace the solid fence with a wire mesh one to give the small playground a larger and more open feel. They did this in the expectation that the children would enjoy the playground even more but what they found was the complete opposite. Now, nobody dared kick balls against the fence or lean against it and instead of running freely round the full extent of the playground as before, the children just tended to huddle in the middle. They kept well away from the new boundary fence through which they could clearly see the dangerous traffic outside.
We need to know and observe these solid boundaries from God’s Word – they are a protection to us from the perils of the world outside and only if we stay safely within them can we be truly free!