Free From Sin

Freedom in Christ is often spoken of very loosely, as a floaty mental whisp more than a concrete reality. Modern notions of Christian Freedom seem to mean we can sin but avoid consequences.

Freedom in Christ is ultimately freedom from sin, as Romans 6 describes it.

Sin had me bound, it controlled me, it wouldn’t let go. Sin bound everything I did to the extent that nothing in me was good. I was incapable of doing one right or good thing. It was evil slavery.

But then I died in Christ! Dead guys are not bound to laws! Where there is no law there is no transgression. I was raised up to new life in Christ, a life that was free from sin.

Do I still sin? Yes, but I am no longer captive to it at all times. In fact, as I persevere in my freedom in Christ, sin fades until ultimately I am completely conformed to the image of Christ.

Being free from sin does not leave me as the same guy, just gets away with sin now. No, freedom from sin frees up my time, energy, resources, mind, soul and body. I have time on my hands now that I’ve given up many fleshly patterns that bound me. I’m free from me!

Now that I am free from sin I freely bind myself as a servant of righteousness with fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life.

Paul’s notion of freedom is to use it to serve. Freedom in Christ is not permission to be hedonistically narcissistic. Proper freedom always results in me doing what is right, the right stuff I could never do while bound to sin.

True Freedom always leads to service. That’s how you know you have it.

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Romans 6:18

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God
Romans 6:22

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all
1 Corinthians 9:19

Tozer on Liberty

“Make a complete surrender to God; love Him with all your heart and love every man for His sake. Determine to obey your own convictions as they crystallize within you as a result of unceasing prayer and constant study of the Scriptures.

“After that you may safely ignore the expectations of your friends as well as the criticisms of your enemies.

“You will experience first the shocked surprise of the regimented army of lock-step believers, then their grudging admiration; and if you continue to walk the way of love and courage they may take heart from your example, throw off the bondage of fear and go forth as ransomed men and women to walk in the sweet liberty wherewith Christ has made them free.”

–A. W. Tozer, We Can Be Delivered From Carnal Fear

What Liberty in Christ Is

Paul encourages the Galatian believers to stand fast in the liberty they have in Christ. Much has been said about the liberty we have in Christ, and much of this much, is not right.

Liberty was explained to me once as the freedom Christ bought us by defeating sin so now “I can do what I want.” To which I replied, “This is true, as long as you want to do what He says.”

Liberty is not an escape from reality. It’s not a mind over matter thing. Liberty is a result of being born again, being a new creation. Ultimately, it is the word that defines life in the Spirit.

Note Paul’s progression in Galatians 5:

5:1–stand fast in your liberty
5:13–do not use your liberty as an occassion to the flesh–to sin
5:22,23–describes the fruit of the Spirit “against such there is no law”

There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit, because the fruit of the Spirit is not wrong in any way. There is no law against it so you are free to do it as much as you want!

If you do not see the connection between no law against fruit of the Spirit and having liberty, you are missing Paul’s point in Galatians 5.

Liberty is only possible for the man who has the Spirit. It’s the freedom to overcome sin by an overpowering desire and energy to do what is right. Freedom to do what our Creator desires. Freedom to finally be able to do something other than stupid sin!

This is liberty indeed!

Tozer on New Life

“He [the born again believer] must alter his attitude toward almost everything. Many solid pillars upon which he had previously leaned without question are now seen to be made of chalk and ready to crumble at any moment.

“What is worst of all, his self-confidence suddenly vanishes. He sees through the flimsy pretense of the you-can-do-it school of thought. He wonders why Emerson’s celebrated essay on self-reliance disturbs him now instead of affording him a shot in the arm.

“He hears the Lord say, ‘Without me you can do nothing,’ and falls at His feet like a little child. All the certainty goes out of him and he throws himself out onto the promise of God, every natural hope and every human trust gone forever.

“This can be a bitter and terrifying experience and it is one, regrettably, that not many persons today know anything about.”

–A. W. Tozer, A New Man in an Old World

Tozer on Fruitful Faith

“In the minds of some teachers faith stands in lieu of moral conduct and every inquirer after God must take his choice between the two.

“We are presented with the well-known either/or: either we have faith or we have works, and faith saves while works damn us.

“Hence the tremendous emphasis on faith and the apologetic, mincing approach to the doctrine of personal holiness in modern evangelism.

“This error has lowered the moral standards of the church and helped to lead us into the wilderness where we currently find ourselves.

“Rightly understood, faith is not a substitute for moral conduct but a means toward it. The tree does not serve in lieu of fruit but as an agent by which fruit is secured.

“Fruit, not trees, is the end God has in mind in yonder orchard; so Christlike conduct is the end of Christian faith.

To oppose faith to works is to make the fruit the enemy to the tree; yet that is exactly what we have managed to do. And the consequences have been disastrous.”

–A. W. Tozer, Religion Should Produce Action

You say Shibboleth; I Say Sibboleth

The Gileadites tested those who wanted to cross over Jordan by having them say “Shibboleth.” Those who couldn’t were deemed to be from Ephraim because they couldn’t make the “shhh” sound. So they killed em for not saying it right.

Shibboleth now stands for a test of camaraderie. Groups form and make one issue their Shibboleth, if you don’t say their one thing right, out you go. They may not kill you, but they won’t like you.

You may agree on 98% of Christian doctrine, but if you don’t have the Shibboleth right, they part ways, drop ya like a hot potatoe. Shibboleths I’ve seen in action:

–Oooo, you’re wearing blue jeans.
–Free Grace
–Predestination
–Pre Trib, Pre Mil Rapture
–Luther
–Lordship Salvation
–Age of the earth
–Drums
–KJV

On and on. There are 30,000 Christian denominations in America, all based on Shibboleths of varying degrees of importance.

The Bible says believers are known by their unity, they display the unity the Father has with the Son. Riiiiight.

The purpose of Shibboleths is to divide Us and Them. It’s not something a group of people who wants others to join them employ. It is something a group of people employ who want to remain exclusive.

Take the disciples. They had a Shibboleth: Hey, Jesus! We saw a guy who isn’t us casting out demons!

Jesus replies with a Shibboleth destroying answer we would be best served to repeat endlessly: “For he that is not against us is on our part.”

Oh if we could destroy our Shibboleths, our party distinctives, and rejoice in the unity in Christ. God is the one who shows differences and teaches. Stick together and let Him do His job.

Tozer on True Faith

“To believe savingly in Jesus Christ is to believe all He has said about Himself and all that the prophets and apostles have said about Him.

“Let us beware that the Jesus we “accept” is not one we have created out of the dust of our imagination and formed after our own likeness.

“That faith which passively accepts all the pleasant texts of the Scriptures while it overlooks or rejects the stern warnings and commandments of those same Scriptures is not the faith of which Christ and His apostles spoke.”

–A. W. Tozer, Not All Faith Pleases God