Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man Behind the Legend

Posted in American, Biography, Book Review, History on January 6, 2012 by Mark Hanson

Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man Behind the Legend

Robert A. Carter (2000)
Overview | A fascinating look into a time when communication took days, weeks, and months, while Indians still exercised their sovereign freedom, and the West was still wild. William Cody, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, was one of the most prominent people to traverse the West prior to the turn of the 20th century. He brought the West East to “civilized” folk. At almost 500 pages, it is a hefty undertaking to delve into the biographical history presented here (personally,  I found it a bit long, but have never read a 500 page historical biography straight through before either). Carter focuses on interesting highlights in the life of William Cody which helps to keep the storyline moving along.
The Good | If you enjoy historical rabbit trails, this is a great book. Carter weaves in contemporary history into the biography giving the work a good feel for the time period as the reader gains a wealth of background information. The author seems to treat William Cody in a fair and impartial manner regarding both his positive and negative character traits. The book moves very realistically and chronological through his life and paints the sobering picture of the once famous man at the end of his life after his fame had come and gone.
The Bad | If you don’t enjoy historical rabbit trails, this book is not for you. For example, the second chapter is almost entirely about the Pony Express, and while interesting, is a tad excessive as very little is mentioned of Buffalo Bill since his connection with the Pony Express was very minor. The chapters are all rather long, prompting this reader to feel like the chapters should have ended well before the conclusion of each chapter was actually reached. When Carter does raise background issues, it is often disjointed with no smooth visual or grammatical transitions between the primary and the secondary elements within the book. The end of the book seemed to drag on as if extending the books length might breath life back into the man it was written about.
The Theological | There were two particular areas that stood out theologically within Will Cody’s family. First was when Cody’s daughter Orra died in 1883 and his wife Louisa stated that “if it was not for the hope of heaven and again meeting there” her affliction would have been far greater (p. 255). A reasonable assumption made by most persons, as the majority would fall under the auspices of Christianity, during this time. While this does not give an indication as to the depth of her or her families spirituality, it does evidence that it was a part of life.
The second was when Cody almost lost his entire show in one stroke when the steamer they were traveling on sunk in February in 1885. All hands were saved but it was nearly a complete loss of all the animals and props they were traveling with. Cody states that “God, Christ, and the devil” were against him and that there “is no heaven-if so it can be damned” (p. 266). These strong words indicate that while “Christian” language can be employed by anyone it often reveals the heart for what it is and and what it is not rather quickly. At this moment of disaster it is obvious that he was not trusting in God’s provision, but rather his inability to provide for himself. It is interesting to contrast the responses of husband and wife and see how the challenges of life provoke completely opposite reactions.
Conclusion | In spite of some of the negative elements, I would recommend this book for those who like Western Americana. The extra background in the book almost makes it a mini history lesson on the late 1800’s, which is fascinating if you have not read extensively in that time frame, but would likely be quite boring for those who have.
As a side note, one of my relatives, William Comstock, is mentioned as challenging Buffalo Bill in a contest to see who could shoot the most buffalo in a day. As you can guess my distant relative lost, and the famous title was ensured for Cody, but not everyone’s ancestors get to be the famous hero.

Walking in Truth – NT

Posted in NTBC C&C with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2010 by Mark Hanson

Last week we looked at the Old Testament understanding of Walking in Truth. This week we’ll look at the New Testament understanding of the same concept and compare the similarities and differences to see if there have been any changes in God’s program. The apostle John talks about walking in truth, and makes mention of some things of interest to our study:

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

In context John is not saying that the law was not truthful, rather he is making the argument that the grace and truth found in Christ is what gives the law any benefit because it finds its fulfillment of mercy and forgiveness in Him.

John 8:31-32; 14:6 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free… Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Christ’s life in action and His words are placed on the same level as direct revelation from God it is Truth. But Christ goes further in the giving of truth as He also gives the Spirit for guidance and direction:

John 14:17; 16:13 Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you… Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

So now we have a direct spiritual guidance and oversight by a the third person of the Godhead who will lead us in truth. This will never be in disagreement with Christ’s revelation, but will be to prompt proper obedience to both God’s previous revelation as well as Christ’s revelation. It is truth which sanctifies. It is truth that changes. It is truth, and it is found in God’s word’s.

John 17:14-21 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.  20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Verse 20 is an amazing prayer as Christ is not just praying for His immediate disciples, but for ALL disciples that would follow. He prayed for US! He prayed that we would be sanctified by truth! How precious the truth of God’s Word should be to us! But what does that look like?

1 John 1:8; 2:4; 3:18-19 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us… 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him… 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

A life marked by sensitivity to our depravity and knowing that our nature is prone to sin. If we deny this, we deny the truth because it is exactly how God describes our condition. God’s commands are a direct admonition to us to correct our erring ways back to truth and that is way keeping His commandments are so vital. And when we can put these things into practice both in what we say and in what we do, then we will find assurance of our relationship with God.

John was a minister who established churches and brought people into relationship with Christ. As he writes to some of these we find that he takes great joy in seeing that they continue to walk in truth:

2 John 1:3-6 3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.  4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. 5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

3 John 1:3-14 3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well.

John’s definition of walking in truth is exactly what he learned from Christ [Mark 12:30-31] and is not so very different than David’s:“[It is] not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it” [2 John 1:5-6]. So the question then is, do you follow what David and John and Christ taught? Are you walking in truth?

Walking in Truth – OT

Posted in NTBC C&C with tags , , , , , , , on May 30, 2010 by Mark Hanson

How many of you think the Old Testament, for daily practical living, only applies to the Jews? This morning we’re going to explore whether this is a reality or not in one particular concept: Walking in Truth. David uses this phrase, “walking in truth,” so this week we start by looking at its use in the OT and follow up by looking at its use the NT. Both the Hebrew and the Greek roots for these words have similar definitions.

Walking conveys the meaning of acting, doing, performing, going, behaving, and living.

Truth carries the connotation of being trustworthy, faithful, truthful, and maintaining consistency over time.

David’s use of “walking in truth” really centers on his specific understanding of truth. And David’s understanding of truth is directly connected to his concept of God:

Psalm 86:10-12 “For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.”

David focuses on who God is. He understands God teaches man to follow after Him, and as a result of that teaching, man will have the ability to walk in truth. Walking in truth can only be accomplished by truly understanding who God is. Understanding who God is directly related to a proper walking in truth. It is only in knowing God’s way that we will be able to follow after Him properly. This then in turn produces praise that is completely focused on God’s glory. David also connects walking in truth to the privilege of being in God’s presence.

Psalm 15:1-2 “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.”

While David takes time to connect truth to the person and presence of God, he also shows how we are able discover this truth:

Psalm 119:30 “I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.”

Psalm 119:142 “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.”

Psalm 119:151 “Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.”

David makes a choice to both know and follow the instructions that God has revealed for us. He is following something that is intrinsically right, and that value will never change. And because God’s law is forever right and true, it is the one standard by which we can measure right and wrong, good and evil.

Psalm 25:4-8 4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. 6 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.  7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD. 8 Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.

Psalm 51:6-12 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

In Psalm 25 and 51 (David’s Psalm after his sin with Bathsheba) one can see that David understands that God is not some distant and far off impersonal being who’s only relationship is one of correction, but rather that God desires a real change of heart which then allows for a real relationship.

These passages give a picture of David’s understanding of truth and how it is to be integrated into life. Knowing where David is coming from is critical when looking at this passage as he is stepping down handing over the throne to his son Solomon.

1 Kings 2:1-4 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; 3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: 4 That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel.

1 Kings 3:6, 14 And Solomon said, [to God] Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day… And [God said] if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

There are some principles that David touches on in his writings (in the broader context than the verses listed here) about truth:

  • Understanding God’s “otherness”
  • Understanding that we must learn
  • Understanding that we must be taught
  • Understanding that we must be led
  • Understanding that we must be dependent
  • Understanding our sin
  • Understanding our guilt
  • Understanding that we must humble ourselves
  • Understanding that we must seek forgiveness
  • Understanding that God demands internal change
  • Understanding this change is complete: heart, mind, soul
  • Understanding that this produces appropriate response
  • Understanding that this leads to God’s presence
  • Understanding that this change is dependent on the holy spirit
  • Understanding that this is all found written in God’s Word
  • Understanding that God’s Word IS truth and must be obeyed

Walking in Truth is what God desires from all of us. David was a man after God’s own heart and God sums it up at the end of David’s life that this entailed walking after God by keeping His commandments. And this is the very same relationship and drive that David wanted to pass on to his son. We should strive to do the same.

Influence of American Culture | Cost of Discipleship

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 25, 2010 by Mark Hanson

After looking at several different facets of American Culture and its influence such as Individualism, Materialism/Consumerism, Freedom/Liberty, and Happiness we really need to take a step back and evaluate:

  • Does the cost of true Christ following Discipleship fit with the “American Culture?”

Next we’ll look at a few passages where Christ plainly describes the kind of character and attitude a person should have if they were to really be one of His followers:

Luke 9:23-25 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Christ draws out the point of denying self and raises the ultimate question: what does this world profit? 

Luke 9:57-10:2 57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee wherever you go. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

This passage has often been preached out of its “discipleship” context which is the foundation for the missional conclusion. He emphasizes the lack of modern “comforts” not daily provision, but the lack of human comfort in the quest to follow. He then calls for the proclamation of His Gospel, His message. It must be a commitment of the whole person, its not a 50/50 deal. Relating this to semi-current American culture, people who took homesteads out West in the wilderness/territories often would never again see the family they left behind. Christ is looking for the same kind of commitment. One with many unknown dangers, discomforts, discouragements, and yet the the satisfaction of knowing that your whole person is invested 100% in the task before you with the potential for future gain.

Luke 14:25-35 25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is not fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

So here it is, are you willing to sacrifice everything that you are “comfortable” with to go through life following Christ? Have you really counted the cost? Some people didn’t have to give up much if all of their family has been saved, but many people have had their family and friends reject them for their commitment to Christ. So are there still things that might be holding you back from that kind of total commitment? Have you really sat down and counted the cost and put all you chips in to place your bet on Christ? Here in the end of this passage Christ asks the same question again: what profit is there in a thing that doesn’t accomplish is designed purpose. We are God’s salt, and we have a purpose. But are we trying to hold back part of our potential for our own gain? What does that profit?

  • So does American Culture promote or detract from Christ’s call to discipleship?
  • What are some ways we can be responding to and countering this influence?

In the end we need to be aware that our American culture is directly, antithetically opposed to Christ’s call of committed following. So choose wisely.

Influence of American Culture | Happiness

Posted in NTBC C&C, theoflections with tags , , , , on May 12, 2010 by Mark Hanson

>> American Happiness

Maybe you’ve heard people say I’m not happy with my spouse, with my life, with my job… people use happiness as a measure to refer to many different things.

  • When you hear the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” what does happiness mean to you?

  • Why do you think happiness was included as a right in the Declaration of Independence?

  • Do we have a right to happiness?

Consider Haman and what his happiness was affected by in Esther 5:8-9: 8 If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king hath said. 9 Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.

Happiness is a fickle thing that can change as quickly as our emotions will allow it to.

Happiness must have an object or a state of reality that brings one the feelings of happiness.

  • What brings you happiness?
  • What happens if/when those things are taken away?

>> Biblical Happiness

  • Should happiness be what determines and defines “Church”?

If the church was defined by happiness who’s happiness would be the determining factor? But shouldn’t a church be known as a “happy” church? We’ll just take a look at several different verses to get a broad look at how the Bible defines and talks about “happiness:”

Psalm 16:8-9, 11; Psalm 31:7; Psalm 64:10; Psalm 104:34; Psalm 118:24; Psalm 122:1; Psalm 126:3; Psalm 127:4-5; Psalm 128:2; Psalm 146:5; Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 14:21; Proverbs 16:20; Proverbs 28:14; Acts 13:46, 48; James 5:11; 1 Peter 3:14; 1 Peter 4:13-14.

  • The Point

While God has created each of us with the ability to experience happiness and we are naturally inclined to make choices which will bring us happiness, we cannot allow our culture’s understanding of happiness as the primary goal and end in life, dictating our interaction with the church and the world. Happiness is not THE end in this life, but it is a result that we can enjoy and pursue. Since our physical, mental, and emotional states can change, our happiness should primarily be bound to our unchangeable God. If that is the case our churches should be a reflection of our individual happiness in God and then our church will become all that God wants it to be because as a body we will all be focusing on Him as the focal point of our unified happiness no matter the situation.

Influence of American Culture | Individualism

Posted in NTBC C&C with tags , , , , , , on May 3, 2010 by Mark Hanson

When thinking of American culture, what does individualism look like, how do people express their individualism?

  • This is most immediately seen in our externals. It shows up in the choice of clothes, hair style, tattoo’s, piercings, music, friends, groups, political leaning, gender orientation, homes, cars, electronic equipment, hobbies, drugs, drinking, etc.
  • But there is also the internal elements that can be effected as well. Attitude, belief, conviction, preference, morals, and conscience among other things also communicate the individualism of the inner person.

When thinking of American culture, how would you define individualism? And what does that look like?

  • Vernacular, The word individualism has been used to denote a personality with a strong tendency towards self creation and experimentation often associated and seen in various forms of art.
  • Technically, an individual unit refers to something “indivisible,” the lowest possible denominator, typically describing a singular thing, like “a person.”
  • Conceptually, individualism makes the individual its focus and starts with the idea that the human individual is the most important. It promotes a person’s goals and desires through independence and self-reliance while opposing external authority upon one’s self, whether by society, group or institution, or even considering the interests of society at large. It does not place value on the sacrifice of self-interest for any higher purpose. It is a method of giving measurable meaning to life.

Taken to an extreme individualism will result a complete rejection of all authority, in other words anarchy. Individualism in its fullest sense, is just selfishness taken to the highest degree. America hasn’t gone that far as a whole, but there are many who believe in this concept as a guiding principle for life. It has supported things like self-esteem, self-awareness, self-love, self-image, etc., often come up in conversation when someone says “what is true for you is not necessarily true for me,” which reveals their understanding of relative truth. If “I” preside over what is “individually” right for me, then ones own authority is supreme and no one else has the right or a corner on the truth to say otherwise

Is there anything wrong with attempting to be unique and stand out from everyone else?

  • Inherently, uniqueness is not wrong otherwise every person who have to be identical. Instead you have to ask yourself why you are doing something, what is the motivating factor in making the decision? Is it to make yourself more visible so you draw attention and impress others? Is it so you be accepted into another group? Is it something where the one determining factor is how it will benefit self?

Does this concept fit with what the Bible teaches about individuality for the believer?

  • John 5:30 “… I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 – “… You were bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.”
  • Romans 12:1-2 – “… Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

As Christians we must always keep in mind that American individuality is all about self, and has little to do with service. God has created us to be individuals so we can in turn give that uniqueness back to Him.

So how does individuality fit within and look like in the Church context?

I think too often we stop reading Romans 12 right after verse 2, but the following applies to how we are to then live:

  • Romans 12:3-5 — “… so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

God uses one main illustration to show what individualism within the church looks like:

  • 1 Corinthians 12 – “… But all these work from one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ… But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body… Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular…”

God grants every individual uniqueness since there are no two identical people on this planet. He also gives special gifts and abilities to individuals for the purpose of using them in service to and for God. We must be taking full advantage of the individuality that God has given us for the benefit of others. The primary place this should happen in in the church. With the analogy of the church being the “body,” each individual is required to comprise the greater whole of the “individual” church body.

>> The Point

We are individuals. God has created us that way. But we cannot place any confidence in our individual uniqueness. Our meaning in life must be derived from God and from our new family in Christ found in the church. Meaning is not created by making myself more unique, it is created when the gifts and talents God gives me are used in service, first to the household of faith, and then to everyone else rather than just consumed for selfish gain and benefit.

Influence of American Culture | Freedom & Liberty

Posted in NTBC C&C, theoflections with tags , , , on April 25, 2010 by Mark Hanson

When thinking of American culture, how would you define liberty or freedom?

Generally Americans tend to define these concepts like this:

“Freedom is the very essence of America.”

“Freedom is the right to live as you choose.”

“Freedom is protection from slavery or oppression.”

A dictionary definition of freedom is [1] physical: the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint; and [2] philosophical: the power to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint, autonomy; self-determination. Liberty is similar but slightly nuanced as [1] the right to choose: the freedom to think or act without being constrained by necessity or force.

We must be very careful that these American concepts are just imported without clarification into out Christian understanding. When attempting to understand these two concepts Biblically, there are slight differences between freedom and liberty that should be made. Christian freedom is the absolute removal of elements of sin in our lives. And the Christian liberty is the restriction of personal choices in our lives.

The real essence of Christian Freedom is the removal of sin’s power: Romans 8:2 — For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Christian Liberty is the resulting state of that freedom where we have a greater ability and responsibility to live Biblically: 1 Corinthians 10:23,31-3323 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not… 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:  33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

There are four guidelines that we should consider anytime we submit an issue to “Christian Liberty”

We must use our liberty to serve others rather than self.

Galatians 5:13 — For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

We must use our conscience to guide our liberty.

Romans 14:1-12 — Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations… 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

We must limit our liberty publicly for the benefit of others.

1 Corinthians 8:9-13 — But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols… 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

We must use our liberty for the encouragement and edification of the Church

Romans 14:15-195 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. {charitably: Gr. according to charity} 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We cannot do anything against our own conscience

We cannot do anything publicly against another believers conscience

We cannot do anything in opposition to love and edification in the church

We cannot do anything that would not be considered “as unto the Lord”

Christian  “Freedom entails self-discipline, responsibility, and accountability.” And those elements are often lacking in their American counterparts.

Galatians 3:23-24 – But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

John 13:14-15 – If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

1 Peter 2:21-23 – For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.

Philippians 3:8 — Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.