Archive for liberty

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,

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