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Thursday, 28 November 2013

License to sin

What is freedom in Christ all about?

I was discussing with a friend recently, the train of thought which states that surely if we have freedom in Christ, we basically have this 'license to sin' because we'll be forgiven anyway?

I'd love to know your views on this discussion because these are just my thoughts... dialogue is much better than one persons thoughts. So leave a comment and start a discussion.

Thought process... "I really want to... and sure I'm a slave to my human nature... so I'll do it and then apologise... and it'll be fine"!?

Romans 6 answers this very definitely for us..."What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed you allegiance. you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."

I think there is a common misconception that once we decide to follow Christ, He will just forgive us of anything we do. Even with the best of intentions... just the small sins... He will sort it all and understand. In some ways I want to say yes. In so many ways I want to say no. With this attitude, not only are we not trying to be like Christ (we are just trying to get away with stuff and therefore we need to re-examine our hearts and ask ourselves whether or not we are REALLY following Christ)... but also I think we forget that it is not impossible for us to get tangled up in sin again.

Galatians 5:1 says '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'.
It is all about choices, and today we each have the choice to stand firm, or to let ourselves get entangled by our old ways, or by the temptations of daily life. If I am truly a disciple of Jesus, I should be seeking to do my best and to love others in every area of my life... not because I have to... but because I want to. Because He has transformed and renewed my heart and mind (Romans 12:2).

Jesus gives us freedom from sin. That is why He died for us. But if we don't see our freedom in its true light (a freedom which in order to keep us safe like a parent looking out for their child, has boundaries and restrictions), then we might find ourselves running into the arms of entrapment and not of true freedom.
A book I read recently used the example of a young girl who is groomed and enticed over the internet (an all to common occurrence), and runs from home toward a freedom she thinks is ahead of her with a mystery man she's met online who seemingly wants to give her all that she's ever desired. Except the truth is that when that girl runs into her new reality, she finds herself more trapped than ever.

This is a misplaced freedom.
Rules and restrictions from those who loved her misunderstood.
What we perceive as freedom can be far from it.

True freedom is aligning your desires to the desires of Christ, so that you feel free to choose what is right, good, Holy and pleasing! Freedom is found in transformation. It is a renewed will. Sometimes it is restriction. Boundaries keep us safe and stop us from walking into a life which is not as green as it might seem.

This statement "I will hold myself to a standard of grace and not perfection" is true and I see the sentiment. However I would like personally to try and hold myself to the standard of perfection, but with an understanding that I can't and won't manage it, and with a knowledge of grace. If I hold myself only to a standard of grace... I might fall into the trap of making excuses for myself and becoming complacent toward grace. It seems like a really small and petty line to tread... but most lines we tread are thin and delicate. this is just another of those "there must be a middle point" thoughts.

"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!"
No. We shall NOT sin because we are under grace and not law, and so out of thanksgiving and praise for this wonderful grace we have received, we will strive to be better people than we could possible ever wish ourselves to be.

And the best part is, that when we mess up (which we will no matter how hard we try), there is grace.
Thanks be to God.

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