Liberty in Christ

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by Grace&Truth, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Grace&Truth

    Grace&Truth
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    "I love my IFb brothers and sisters.. but so many are blinded by what they have been taught as the truth that they fail to see liberty in Christ."

    This was mentioned in one of the responses on 20/20 thread (not trying to resurrect that thread) Just wondering what everyone believes "Liberty in Christ" means from a biblical perspective....
     
  2. Don

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    Interesting...no answers thus far. Must be a weekend, or a touchy subject....

    My personal, be it ever so humble opinion ( :) ):
    The weak Christian says "I can't" or "you can't."
    The adequate Christian says "I can" or "you can."
    The strong Christian says "I won't."

    ("adequate" is not my preferred word, but I can't find a good middle-ground word between weak and strong)
    Again, my personal opinion...which is like armpits: Everyone's got at least two, and some smell a lot worse than others.
     
    #2 Don, Apr 16, 2011
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  3. menageriekeeper

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    I'll give it a go. I am SBC if you are interested, with a FreeWill and IFB background.

    Let's start with Christ's words:

    Luk 4:18The Spirit of the Lordisupon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

    The Jews, being required to follow the rigors of the Law, were burdened down with rules. The priesthood, instead of taking the Law at face value had come up with alllllll sorts of "maybes". Maybe God would be angry if.... And while they were following all their "rules" that made them holy, they forgot the more important things:

    Mat 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

    The sacrifice of Christ made the Law obsolete. All those rules, all those potential sins, were made null and void upon the acceptance of the gift. Now we seek "to love God and love our neighbor" for as Christ told us, "upon these two hand the law and prophets." If we get these two right, we don't have to worry this rule and that rule. We are made righteous by the blood of Christ. Nothing we do has any effect on His righteousness and His righteous covers us. We seek now to obey God out of our love and appreciation for what He did for us, not out of fear for our souls.

    Paul said:
    Gal 5:1
    Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

    So if we no longer have to fear the consequence of sin (death) then why do we seek a list of rules to live by? Can not every question of propriety be answered by comparing them to the two principals listed above?
     
  4. Don

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    My response to you would be: Don't confuse "rules" for salvation vice "rules" for how we walk as Christians. Remember that Paul said the words in Galatians...but he also said the words in Romans 13:9...but follow those rules out of love, not out of some thought that we "prove" something by doing so.

    edited to add:
    I would also point out Ephesians 4 and 5, where we see "rules" for our walk as Christians. There's a lot of stuff in the New Testament that tells us things we should do, how we should act, etc.; but I go back to Romans 13:9 -- do them out of love.

    And I would *especially* point out that the passages I referenced don't say, "make sure others are following these guidelines/rules"; they're meant to be implemented by each of us individually, and not meant to be used to bash others over the head.

    Okay, that's my piece. I've said more than I intended to.

    edited to add:
    Okay, I lied (unintentionally). Here's the analogy to prove my point: You stay with parents or a friend. You obey their rules around their house. Why? Because you have to? Or because you want to? If because you want to, why do you want to? I humbly submit, out of love.

    That's my point. I visit someone's house, and they require that if I smoke, do it outdoors (I don't smoke, but it's an analogy). I could easily say, "pfft," and just open the window in the room that I'm staying in. But I value their friendship, and (in the case of the parents, anyway) even love them. So out of respect for them, I follow their rules.

    Like I said previously: A weak Christian says you *have* to follow their rules. A moderate Christian says, "I don't have to." A strong Christian says, "I don't have to, but I will."

    And I apologize for the impression that I'm giving: I don't consider myself to be a strong Christian. I continue working towards that goal.

    Okay, hopefully, I'm done now.
     
    #4 Don, Apr 16, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2011
  5. Salty

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    Lets take movies for example

    Do we have Christian Liberty to attend movies - of course we do.
    Do we have Christian Liberty to attend a X rated move - YES we do- but would we want to.
    Do we have Christian liberty to attend a G rated movie Yes - and it probably would not be a problem unless (you fill in the blank)
    Hmmm about R rated (think Passion of the Christ )
    GP13 is okay,but suppose you had a group of girls over for a slumber party, would you show a GP movie? What if only one parent out of 10 objected?
    ratings from the motion picture service

    Could be that Christian Liberty also needs some common sense?

    When I first joined the Army, I was stationed at Atlanta Army Depot , someone asked me if I wanted to attend the Post theater that night to see a movie. I told him I did not go to movies because you never know what you will see on the screen. He told me that it was rated "G" and would not be a problem. Well, I grew up GARBC - aka independent Baptist - now they told us we should not go to movies because you never know what you will see on the screen. But the new rating system had just come out the previous year and no one in church told me the "new answer" to give for a G rated movie. I just did not know what to say! I ended up not going, lest I would sin.
     
  6. Scarlett O.

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    It's necessary for me to tell you the scripture first and then I'll tell you how I apply it. I'm trying to memorize some scripture this year. This week it's Galatians 5:1-18. I'm posting scripture and my thinking on it over at another forum. I don't think anyone is doing this with me, but c'est la vie. I've not been as faithful with it myself, but I'm trying.

    This week's passage is on liberty, from Galatians. Here's what I said last week at the "other place".
    ..........................................................................

    Do you ever find yourself in a place of legalistic behavior? I think ALL Christians do that from time to time. ALL of us. Believing that tradition, works, the "way we've always done it", and other things that we have grown accustomed to somehow justifies us before God above those who don't practice these things. Putting our faith in the things that someone else told us was important without clarifying that for ourselves by going to the Word with it. I'm not talking about personal convictions. That's not legalism.

    Do you ever find yourself in a place of licentiousness? Again, ALL of us go there from time to time. Have you ever KNOWN that you shouldn't be doing something, yet you do it anyway, believing that your salvation excuses you. Or have you ever KNOWN there was something that you NEEDED to do, God had moved you to do this, and you didn't do it - believing that your salvation was all you needed and that you were "excused" again?

    Because I truly believe that ALL Christians vacillate from legalism to licentiousness at different points in their lives, it's no wonder that we are sometimes ineffective as the Bride of Christ and sometimes spiritually "schizophrenic". I don't use that word schizophrenic lightly. I know some schizophrenic people who suffer greatly and I would never use that word flippantly. I use that term in it's truest meaning, but directed at our spiritual self.

    I mean a profound disruption in spiritual cognition and spiritual identity in Christ, affecting the most fundamental spiritual attributes: love for God, love for others, obedience, bearing of spiritual fruit, and being an effective witness to the lost. We become spiritually delusion - hearing the "voices" and heeding the "voices" that do not come from the Holy Spirit, but from the devil.

    We are sometimes fueled by guilt, despair, doubt, and fear. Sometimes entire churches and families are fueled by these. All of these are the counterfeits and lies that the devil wants to replace the Truth with. God's wants us to live in conviction, hope, joy, assurance, and rest. How can we do this if we are sometimes jumping back and forth between believing that our behavior justifies us and believing that our relationship with God excuses us.

    Galatians 5:1-18 tells us where we should be living - where our mindset should be. Specifically, verse 13 sums it all up.
    *******************************************

    "Galatians 5:1-18 (HCSB)

    [1] Christ has liberated us into freedom. Therefore stand firm and don't submit again to a yoke of slavery. [2] Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. [3] Again I testify to every man who gets circumcised that he is obligated to keep the entire law. [4] You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace! [5] For by the Spirit we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness from faith. [6] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.

    [7] You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth? [8] This persuasion did not come from Him who called you. [9] A little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough. [10] In the Lord I have confidence in you that you will not accept any other view. But whoever it is who is troubling you will pay the penalty. [11] Now brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. [12] I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!

    [13]For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don't use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. [14] For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [15] But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.

    The Spirit versus the Flesh

    [16] I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. [17] For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don't do what you want. [18] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law."

    What does Christian liberty mean?

    It means that there is nothing in the Law that when violated is going to send you to hell. It means that the civil and the ceremonial law found in Leviticus doesn't even apply to Christans.

    For example, it's not a sin to get a tattoo. But is it wise? Let's think. How many young men have professed their love for their girlfriends by getting their name tattooed on their necks. And then how many of those young men MARRIED someone else!! :laugh: I know I would not enjoy being married to a wonderful Christian man with the name "CARMELITA" tattooed on his neck. :BangHead:

    Drinking alcohol is not a sin. Drunkeness is most definitely a sin. Therefore, while we have the liberty to drink without condemnation, yet we know that drunkeness is a sin - extreme caution to point of abstaining for most people should be taken in this area.

    Paul says very clearly that liberty is freedom from the chains of the law, but that a Christian should not just run "willy-nilly" off into "liberty land" and live for the flesh. He or she should instead, use that wonderful liberty in service to others.
     
  7. Don

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    Scarlett - bravo. <salute>
     
  8. Grace&Truth

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    The reason I asked about this is because it seems that many Christians use "Liberty in Christ" or if you will "Christian Liberty" to claim all sorts of ungodly practices which then becomes an excuse or a license to sin (as Scarlet pointed out). The whole book of Galatians is dealing with the fact that we were saved by grace through faith (in Christ's finished work on the cross) and we are also sanctified by grace through faith, meaning it is only by believing and walking in the power of Christ (enabling grace) that we are sanctified or made holy. Through Christ sin has no more power over us (we are dead to sin [through Christ]) we are free (liberty) from the power of sin. If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh- chapter 5.

    However, when we as Christians try to not sin in our own strength we will not have the victory over sin that we should....it then becomes a burden to us. This is part of what I believe Paul is saying in Gal. "You began in Grace but now you are fallen from Grace (enabling power of Christ) you now think you can be righteous in your own strength and power. No, we are saved by grace through faith....we are also santified by grace through faith....which is depending on the grace of God to obey and live the Holy life that is required. Being set apart from all ungodliness, sin, wickedness, etc. etc. (Christ paid the penalty for sin, it has no more power over us, unless we allow it to and yield to it) and we are to be set apart to God for His use.

    Actually it is yielding to Christ and Christ living through us.

    Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
     
  9. John of Japan

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    It appears to me that in spite of most of the history of the church of Jesus Christ, the canard of "rules = legalism, down with all rules" has taken over the modern church. In reality, most fundamentalists don't consider them to be rules, but standards of behavior. (But granted some churches have them as rules.) I trace the change to two events in history.

    (1) The "new evangelicalism" announced at the beginning of the 1950s. The leaders of the new evangelicalism objected to what they viewed as restrictive standards of behavior. They believed in engagement with the culture instead of separation from the world.

    (2) The book The Grace Awakening (1990) by Chuck Swindoll took evangelicalism even further in the same direction. So now the average American thinks any list of rules or standards is legalism, fundamentalists are all legalists, no Christian should ever have standards or rules of behavior.

    But consider:

    Every church has rules or standards of behavior called a constitution and/or a church covenant and/or bylaws. You think us fundamentalists are strict? Look as some of those old church covenants. Look at the Puritans. Look at 19th century Christians and what they preached. Examples: Spurgeon railed against Baptist Union pastors who attended the theater, R. A. Torrey preached against the theater, Hudson Taylor forbade novel reading and railed against it.

    Every believer has standards of behavior, as shown by Salty above. You might be free to go to a dirty movie, but if you have any sense you've decided in your heart never to do so. That's a standard of behavior. But it's not legalism.

    Every company has standards of behavior. Your company many have higher standards than your church: where to smoke or not, no drinking on the job, where you can have your coffee, how to interact with the opposite sex, etc. etc. The same people who accuse us fundamentalists of being legalists submit to the standards on the job with nary a protest.

    The Bible lists standards of behavior given by the apostles in Acts 15:28-29 (note that a couple of those things are OT law nowhere else commanded in the NT) to the Gentile believers to avoid offense (a major reason we fundamentalists believe in standards).

    The Bible clearly states that we should not be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2), we should not love the world (1 John 2:15), we should not set evil things before our eyes (Ps. 101:3). And there are many other Scriptures on this.
     
    #9 John of Japan, Apr 17, 2011
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  10. DHK

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    I have not entered a theater since I was saved over 30 years ago, and I had never heard of these guys. It just didn't seem to be the right thing for a Christian to do, and never has.
     
  11. Salty

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    Does that include Novel reading as indicated by Hudson Taylor?
     
  12. DHK

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    Of course not. Reading such, was required in the public schools and post-secondary institutions; going to theaters was not.
     
  13. ituttut

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    Using your analogy of strength and arm pits:

    Are you saying the Weak Christian says I can't smell myself, and you can't either? I believe you are right for the weak cannot see the beam in their eye, supposing no one else can either. Their liberty is that of "babes", not being able to see beyond their crib.

    The adequate Christian says I can smell myself, and you can to? I believe you are right for we do know we smell to high heaven, and know others observe this also. We are now standing, and walking in our freedom, and don't care what others are smelling.

    We should then move on to the strong Christian who says I won't smell, becaus I can't. Then says, "I'll tell you a secret". "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are then doused with that Heavenly Scent". Peresonally my Freedom is in Him for He has set me to Liberty.

    I LOL when I saw you post above. Then noticed the wisdom contained therein.
     
  14. menageriekeeper

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    Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    This is our standard. What's the problem with allowing each individual to decide for him/herself what is proper and what isn't? Do we not all have the same Holy Spirit to guide us?

    Do I really need anyone outside the Holy Spirit and scriptures to tell me how to dress, what to watch, where to go, who to be with, etc? Are we still children in need of instruction?

    As far as dress and our jobs go, each job is different with a different set of rules. You would show up to McDonalds in a 3 piece suit would you? Now do you want to set up a standard by which to go to church based on what one wears to work? Think about it!

    And this whole "give your best unto the Lord" mentality that usually excuses such nonsense can be extremely divisive when that poor hick from the edge of town shows up to church in his overalls! How many people have we kept from church because we expect them to dress differently on Sunday than wht they do the rest of the week. Does God look at me any different on Sunday than He does on Friday night? Or Tuesday morning?

    Movies? There are good ones and bad ones. Can we not tell the difference, just as we do with our reading material? What about it being a "movie" makes going to see one a sin?

    Oh wait, I know this one: Its the dark theater where folks might be ummm, "holding hands". :rolleyes: No, that's not it, cause hotel rooms are easy and cheap nowdays. How about, I know!

    Its Hollywood and all the those unholy people involved in creating them. That's it! We see poor Lindsay Lohann on the news every evening with some new bit of trouble she's gotten into. Bunch of faithless, unholy people. :( But, the Bible says that such were we before we got saved. :(

    Is Lindsay really any different than the pregnant cashier at Walmart who you've heard doesn't have a husband? We support the store that allows her to work, what difference is it if we watch a good product that comes from Hollywood but that allows Lindsay to work? (albeit, probably at a different project!)

    We're a bunch of hypocrits. I include myself in that. There but for the grace of God I go. It is one thing for us to live to a standard that shows Christ in all we do. Its another to have standards for the sake of having standards. That is what the world does. Its called secular humanism.

    The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, and if we get these right, the standards will be there.
     
  15. Scarlett O.

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    ...and there we have it. :thumbs:
     
  16. Don

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    Hadn't originally intended for the "opinions/armpits" thing to be part of the analogy/explanation; but I gotta say, it sure made me chuckle.

    One thing I would cautiously correct: Instead of "I won't because I can't," it should be "I won't because of others."

    See response below to Menagerie for an explanation of that.
     
  17. Don

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    The first part of Romans 14 would seem to agree with you: "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth."

    But then we see this: "...judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." "...if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably."

    Can you explain Ephesians 4-5 in the context of what you've posted? Seems there are a lot of rules in those two chapters on how we're supposed to act. Should we ignore those, and concentrate on the fruits of the spirit?

    Don't use man-made standards (i.e., I don't wear ties any more)...but have a caution for our weaker brethren.

    Not disagreeing with you, per se. Liberty is freedom; but freedom has responsibilities.
     
  18. menageriekeeper

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    IMO, the Ephesians passages only expand on what I have written, in context with the culture to which they were written. For instance in Eph 4:25 we are told not to lie about our neighbors, but one could come to the same conclusion through the passages I've quoted above. Lying is not a fruit of the Spirit. Nor is is any of those things quoted in the Phillipians verse.

    No where in the Ephesians passage are we told not to use slang. Corrupt language isn't slang. It's deceptive language, its a con game used to draw people away from doing good or its meant to hurt rather than uplift. If edifying language is what we want to use, then corrupt language must lead in the opposite direction. Say you come out wearing a shirt that swirls in bright red and orange colors and it looks absolutely horrid on you. Its edifying for me to say "I really don't care much for that style shirt", it wouldn't be edifying for me to say "you look like a creeper in those clothes". See the difference? The first was a useful comment, the second was offensive, though neither time did I use slang or any foul language. The first comment leads to discussion, the second to defensiveness.

    The first comment supports being loving and peaceful. The second is sarcastic and on the verge of hateful. Corrupt language means sooo much more than slang or even foul language. God always looks at the intention behind the speech. Out of heart does the mouth speak. Christ told us this. To simply apply the warning to particular words takes away the heart of the passage.

    In similar ways we can apply what I've written to the rest of the discussion in Eph 4 and 5.
     
  19. menageriekeeper

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    Sorry for the double post but I didn't want this to get lost in the last:

    This does not mean I'm to be psychic! If I have someone come to me and say, "I wish you wouldn't use the word b*tt around me because I was raised that it was a bad word", I'd take it out of my vocabulary. Similarly, I realize that my parents think the word drat is short for d*mn so I don't use it at their house. I know that d*mn is an abbrevation for the word damnation which isn't considered foul at all, but I can play nice when things aren't worth arguing over.

    However, if I'm in the park and I ask my children if they know where my d*rn cell phone is, I'm not going to worry about being overheard. I can't read minds. There is no reason I should have too. My language isn't directed at others and my children aren't being hurt in any way by use of the word d*rn, because they haven't been taught that it is a sin unto death to use it! (yeah, that was sarcasm, but that was also how I was taught as a child and can remember severe punishments being handed out over the use of the word d*rn. Seriously, we didn't even darn socks in our house!)

    Similarly, I'm not worried about walking out of the ABC store carrying a bottle of vodka. Why? Because if the person who was "offended" would only ask, I'd tell them it was intended to be used in making vanilla flavoring (homemade is best!).

    We offend in the faith when we continue on doing something that we know is a causing a brother to fall from the faith or to be drawn away. An example: My daughter had a friend once whose parents had been though many trials because of the father's drug and alcohol addictions. In deference to his sensitivity, I moved all my cooking alcohols, including my homemade vanilla flavoring, to place that was out of sight. It was the loving thing to do.
     
  20. John of Japan

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    I don't get the whole theater going thing anyway. Why are people so offended that fundamentalists say we shouldn't go to the theater? Why do people defend it so strenuously? You just sit there and watch a moving picture, something you can do at home on the TV. If they protest about how much better the quality is at a theater, big deal! Are Christians now Epicureans? Is pleasure that big a deal to them?

    When our son was at home we had a Monday evening family time when we always had a snack and played a game together. We interacted, had fun together as a family, something that doesn't happen (or at least not nearly as well) when all are watching a big screen. Families who go to the movies together instead of having quality time at home are missing out! "Quiet. I didn't hear what that Hollywood actor said."

    So the vaunted "liberty in Christ" to go to a theater many brag about is nothing more that a lower level of pleasure seeking, in my mind.
     

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