Over the past few years I’ve noticed a dramatic change in the way younger 20-something Christians think about their freedom in Christ. Many grew up in Churches that were legalistic and seemed to add rules to the Scripture that Scripture it self does not specify. Those who grew up in a church in which Phariseeism was the norm, either left the Christian faith completely or sought out a new way to live out their faith. This generation is rightly abandoning legalism, but for what? The pendulum is always swinging back and forth between generations. The pendulum has swung to far to legalism and now as it is swinging back it is approaching antinominism, or rather sining anyway because Christ forgives. As it tends to happen, people flee to the two extremes rather than balancing the tension between freedom in Christ and personal holiness.
Whenever Paul shared the Gospel, a question from his critics continually came up. If Paul is really teaching and preaching a Gospel of justification by faith alone, does that mean that you can just continue on in your sin and it doesn’t matter? Paul answers this response in Romans 6 and in Galatians 2:17. Paul’s answer is a resounding no. His answer is simple, but mysterious. Paul says that when we come to Christ and truly accept him as our Lord and Savior than we are dead to our sin and alive in Christ. We are then “Crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20) Our hearts desires are radically changed and Christ lives through us as his body, the church. Yes we are saved only by faith through grace in Jesus, but when that happens our appetite for sin has been sizzled out. We now desire the things of God, and mourn when our fleshly desires gets the best of us.
Yes there is amazing freedom in Christ. Yes, technically we can go and do whatever we want to do, but if we have really been transformed by Jesus we will want to follow after him. Sin should not abound in a Christians life just because grace does. We should seek to be holy, set apart while simultaneously being free from the yoke of legalism. Christ did not die to give us a blank check to sin, but to free us from the slavery of sin so that we might willingly become slaves to Christ.
As you live your life as a Christian, live in freedom, but live in holiness. Don’t use your freedom in Christ as an excuse to look at pornography or overfill your stomach with food. Don’t use your freedom to be addicted by anything or be filled with drunkenness. Rejoice and celebrate your freedom in Christ, but understand that Christ freed us so that He wold live through us. Be holy as Jesus is holy. Remember, “For Freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1)