Liberty is a doctrine in confusion. Many think “liberty” means we are free to sin. There is the notion that God does not see our sin as believers. Perhaps you’ve heard “When God looks at me He only sees Christ.” This is a fine-sounding notion but not exactly biblical.
Liberty never means sin is OK. Galatians tells us not to use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh but rather use it to love others. One who is at liberty is no longer bound. Since nothing is binding me and I am bound to nothing, I can use all things for the Gospel’s sake and the benefit of others.
Think of it this way: if a guy is addicted to cocaine he uses all his resources to get cocaine. In fact, the worse he is bound to it, the more he will infringe upon your resources to aid him in getting his cocaine. His bondage keeps him self-centered and thus completely unable to help anyone. All sin is addictive and all sin has this result.
To understand what we have liberty for, it is vital we know what God thinks we are in bondage to. Here is a brief list, which mayor may not be comprehensive:
Romans 8:21–the bondage of corruption. You’re going to die. Your body will fall apart. Most are kept in a vicious bondage to stay young and fear age.
Galatians 4:3–bondage to the elements of the world. The basic, childish wisdom and religion of the world emphasizing external, physical things rather than spiritual reality.
Galatians 5:1–yoke of bondage to external law rituals that replaced faith.
Hebrews 2:15–bondage to the fear of death. First in with Romans 8:21 above.
2 Peter 2:18-20–bound to fleshly lusts that pull away from righteousness and Gospel-living.
The consistency of the list is that bondage is always to external things–Maintaining our physical life with our physical stuff. We fear losing our physical life and thus fear losing, or not getting, our physical stuff.
The liberty of Christ frees us from these concerns. Jesus tells believers that in order to gain life one must lose it. Deny yourself. As Paul puts it, “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.” Or “I die daily.”
If I’m already dead, how could I be worried about maintaining my physical life?!
Christian liberty frees us from this world and fleshly desires for things of this world. We are now possessed with the mind of Christ, setting our affections on things above. Faith looks to the unseen, the eternal, we walk by faith, not by sight.
This is our liberty! We are told that God will meet our needs. He does this by 1) Changing what our needs are and 2) meeting those! Most people don’t trust God here and chalk this up as impractical idealism.
The Bible tends to call it “faith.” Do you have the guts to be free?