Guest Post: Give Me Liberty!
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”, Gal. 5:1.
Based on God’s righteousness the Christian faith and church, because of the cleansing power of the precious blood of Christ, is the freest “religious” entity on planet earth. But there is a steady “progression” back to the slavery and control of man either in the saving gospel or in the serving church. Man’s legislation can open the door to legalism.
Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from the curse of the law, i.e. having to continue in all its rules or be cursed, by being made a curse for us on the tree. (Gal. 3:10-13)
Man’s Legalism – adds rules to faith in Christ in order to escape the cursing of hell
Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from the law itself – its letter of legislating sabbath days, diet, robes, and rituals as a lifestyle. We are not under the law but under grace and therefore our liberty is not to be judged in these areas. (Col. 2:14-22 / Gal. 4:5 / Rom7:6)
Man’s Legalism – re-adds these rules and principles to the Christian life to emit holiness
Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from the childhood stage of serving under law where children are legislated what to do and when to do it. He now freely gives us His Spirit that makes us sons – mature adults, not little babies. Thus in the wisdom of the Spirit we can fulfill the rightness of the law (to love God and our neighbor) without being under law! We can now know God’s heart without the law’s legislation. (Gal. 4:1-11)
Man’s Legalism – brings the believer back to childhood control and legislation, where he is told how much to give, how to worship, when to worship, who leads in worship, etc.
Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from mandatory tithing of ten percent. Now as adult sons we have liberty to determine in our own hearts of love what to give. (2Cor. 9:7)
Man’s Legalism – legislates ten percent (and usually ends up with less in the long run).
Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from a selective priesthood where only a part of God’s people was priests (clergy) and could only approach God to serve in His house, (Num. 18:1-7). Because of Christ’s powerful cleansing blood every believer is now constituted a holy priest and may offer up spiritual sacrifices. (1Pet. 2:5, Rev. 1:5, 6)
Man’s Legalism – Re-divides the believers back into clergy and laity. Man legislates that man’s education and training by man qualifies one for divinity titles. This then is what allows them to minister in the house of God, the church.
Christ’s Liberty – Christ’s gospel has freed us from restricted access into His holiest. The temple veil, blocking access to the holiest of God’s presence was torn in two when Christ died. Now all the brotherhood by Christ’s blood has glorious liberty to come into God’s very presence. It is in His Presence that we hear His Word from the Bible by the Spirit speaking to our hearts – like only Moses could do in the OT. We do not need another to do it for us anymore! (Heb. 10:19-23 / 1Cor. 2:10-12 / Ex. 25:22, Num. 7:89)
Man’s Legalism – re-sews the open veil with professional threads that legislates that only “the clergy” hears from God in a special way to minister His Word to others.
Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from limited access to His table. Only Aaron and his sons (males) could eat the bread at the table of showbread. Now every brother and sister, Jew or Gentile, can partake of the Lord’s Supper and table and eat the bread and drink the cup in fellowship. This wonderful NT freedom the church did often upon the first day of every week when it came together. (Lev. 24: 5-9 / 1Cor. 11:20, 26 / Acts 20:7)
Man’s Legalism – Rather than the biblical example of every week, man now decides and legislates how often the church will keep the Lord’s Supper – from once a month to once a quarter, etc. This actually limits this freedom of all believers (including women) to eat and commune with their Lord often at His table.
Christ’s Liberty – Christ’s gospel has freed us from only a select few being able to sing and lead in praise while others watch the performance. In the OT it was the robed Levitical singers who would sing and play their instruments at the house of God while the others listened and bowed in worship. Select singers were commanded (legislated) and appointed that they should praise. Now since every believer has the Spirit we all can make melody in our hearts unto the Lord. The liberty of congregational singing! “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise”. (2Chron. 20:21, 29:25-30 / Eph. 5:18-20 / Heb. 13:15)
Man’s Legalism – Reinvents the worship or praise leader and team where they will perform and you will listen. They decide what will be sung and by whom. It’s not the same as the Spirit leading any brother in the church to freely offer a hymn or psalm unto God with the whole congregation singing from their Spirit-filled hearts.
Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from only a select few being able to minister in the house of God. Only the priests could offer sacrifices unto the Lord. The others would pay and obey. Now every believer can offer his or her body as a living sacrifice to serve the Lord. In His church meeting every brother (whether slave or master) could use his gift in the Lord’s orderly way to edify the church. (Ex. 30:20 / Rom. 12:1 / 1Cor. 14)
Man’s Legalism – restricts the full participation of the “common brother” in the house of God. It legislates only “the pastor” and a few “trained” to orally lead in the church meeting (though they might be good at what they do for the Lord). In effect this legislation ties the feet and tapes the mouths of the men from freely offering praise to the Lord along with teaching and comfort to edify the church. It actually deprives the church of the rich variety of the Spirit’s gifts. It can also stunt the believer’s growth by restricting what he can give out what God has put in his heart. A body must exercise.
The very blood of Christ has purchased our liberty and priesthood. Each cleansed believer has received the gift of the Holy Spirit. No one is more professional in the things of God than He. Therefore to restrict a believer’s participation in the church with manmade rules is a restriction of the liberty in which Christ has made us free. It undermines (perhaps without intent) the truth of the gospel in Christ’s blood, and the power and grace of the Holy Spirit using a clay vessel. God save us from legalism.
Yet to have this blood bought liberty and not value it or use it, could be likened to one spending thousands on a doctor’s degree and then after graduation deciding to be a hermit. May we stand fast with courage, endurance and faithfulness in the Lord Jesus’ liberating truths and practices in His NT gospel and church. God save us from apathy.