The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 60

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you were slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness [Rom 6: 15 -18, emphasis mine].

Sadly, many ‘professing’ Christians have a misunderstanding of the biblical concept of ‘freedom’ in Christ. Many have satisfied themselves with the belief that ‘freedom in Christ’ is license to continue in their sinful ways, justifying their lifestyles by claiming God’s grace ‘in Christ’. Little do they realize that to be ‘in Christ’ implies being subject to him. This misunderstanding of God’s grace endorses the view that God ‘winks at sin’ and that His grace is cheap. Paul deals with this erroneous view in the Scripture before us today. He says in effect, “do you think that you can claim Christ under false pretences? Perish the thought!”

Let me explain. We live in a society that has made a god out of ‘freedom’. Today freedom is of paramount importance in everything - whether it is the freedom to abort a baby, to live in adultery, to flout moral standards, to not be subject to lawful authority, and a host of other freedoms that have self-interest at the very core. Freedom can be either good or bad. When freedom is confused with license then it is always harmful. For instance, society’s rejection of traditional (and Christian) standards of morality has led to numerous social problems, including rampant teenage pregnancies, broken marriages and high crime rates. True freedom has no drawbacks because it is subject to a higher law. That law is our obedience to Christ.

Our freedom from sin has resulted in our slavery (i.e. obedience) to Christ. We are freed from the burden of trying to earn our salvation through good works. But we are slaves to something that works in us to produce holiness. This word ‘holiness’ indicates our being set apart. It presupposes certain behaviour that is in contrast to that of the pagan. For example, do pagans mutilate, or disfigure or mark their bodies? We shouldn’t! Why? Because in so doing we dishonour the God who made our bodies and who seeks to dwell in them. Will something we do (even though we know it to be right) be a stumbling block to a weaker brother, or to an unbeliever? Then we abstain from doing it! That’s true freedom!

Get the message?

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues