Sunday, March 26, 2006

Jesus-The Great Liberator Part 2-What Christ does NOT free believers from, at least in this world.

(Part One is here.)

It can be helpful in learning what something is, by looking at what it is not.
In Part One we looked at John 8:30-36. Before we look at what the freedom is Jesus refers to, let's check out what it is not.

1-Christ does not free believers from obedience to the moral law. While it does not and can not save us, it is a rule for our direction and to show us our need for Christ and the Gospel by showing us our sin & how we ought to live.
John Calvin wrote, “Let those who infer that they may sin because they are not under the law, understand that they have no right to this liberty, the end of which is to encourage us in well-doing.”
For example Ephesians 6:2, (here in context), encourages us to obey the commandment to honour our parents. He’s not making a suggestion, or saying-“By the way—it would be nice if…” Paul denies grace gives license (permission or permissibility to sin) in very firm language in Romans chapter 6.

2-We are not freed from duty to superiors-at work, government, home, etc. (Romans 13) unless they cause us to disobey God and go against scripture.

3-We are not freed from temptation, nor from the assaults of Satan. One day all believers WILL know this freedom, but there is no promise in scripture that we will experience it now.
Eph 6: 10-20 describes the full armour of God, by which we protect ourselves against his attacks. In 2 Cor 12:7 Paul mentions a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan that buffets him.

4-We are not necessarily freed from the consequences of our sin. King David suffered for his sin with Bathsheba, (2 Samuel 11), yet the Bible calls him a man after God’s heart. (I Kings 11:4)

Think also of prisoners on death row—every now & then you hear of one who has professed faith in Christ. I hope they are truly saved, but many show a misunderstanding of what being freed by Christ means. They make a profession & then act as if they should get a reduced sentence, or even be pardoned because of their conversion. If they were truly saved, God has forgiven all their sin-the crimes they committed to put them on death row-and every other sin as well,but they are not exempted from the consequences.

Refreshingly you do sometimes hear of the converted prisoner who admits they deserve the consequences of their sin-but rejoice that they will be with the Lord—they show repentance in a believable way.

5-We are not freed from disease, injury, or other afflictions, or even physical death in this world. We will in the next, but not yet. The Bible is full of examples, especially Paul who lists the suffering he has experienced in 2 Cor. 11, and we see this played out in Acts.

In Part Three we will look at what this freedom Jesus promises His followers is.

(I am especially indebted to
the Puritan John Flavel's work Method of Grace in this series.)


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