Liberty Of The Christian

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

Though I have been unable to say very much lately, my research has continued to grow on the subject of freedom in Christ. I find today’s text to be worth contemplating.

The following illustration is titled Personal Liberty of the Christian, by H. W. Beecher:

The doctrine of St. Paul is not that a Christian man has a right to liberty in conduct, thought, and speech in and of himself, without regard to external circumstances, interests, organizations, and without reference to his own condition.

Paul's conception of the rights and liberties of men stands on the philosophical ground underneath all those things. Rights and liberties belong to stages or states of condition. The inferior has not the right of the superior.

A stupid man has not the right of an educated or intelligent man. He may have the legal rights; but the higher ones, that spring out of the condition of the soul, must stand on the conditions to which they belong.

A refined man has rights and joys that an unrefined man has not and cannot have, because he cannot understand them, does not want them, could not use them.

Rights increase as the man increases — increases, that is, not merely in physical stature, or in skill of manual employment or material strength, but in character.

So, as men work up higher and higher towards the Divine standard of character, their rights and liberties increase. The direct influence of Christ is to bring the human mind into its highest elements.

The power of the Divine nature upon the human soul is to lift it steadily away from animalism or from the flesh — the under-man — up through the realm of mere material wisdom and accomplishment, in the direction of soul-power, reason, rectitude — such reason and such rectitude as grow up under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

When love has permeated the whole man, he then has perfect liberty — liberty of thought, liberty of speech, liberty of conduct. A perfect Christian is the one and only creature that has absolute liberty unchecked by law, by institution, by foregoing thoughts of men, by public sentiment.

Because a perfect man is in unison with the Divine soul, he has the whole liberty of God in himself, according to the measure of his manhood. But he has liberty to do only what he wants to do, and he wants to do nothing that is not within the bounds and benefit of a pure and true love.

He becomes a law to himself; that is, he carries in himself that inspiration of love which is the mother of all good law. He is higher than any law. His will is with God's will. He thinks what is true; he does what is benevolent.

Selah.

The God Of Jacob

“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help.” Psalms 146:5

The road to freedom is not necessarily an easy one. If you were blessed to be born into a family that shaped your identity around God’s Word, you will certainly have far less hurdles. This is why it is so important to “train up a child in the way he should go.” Proverbs 22:6

Many people begin the journey excited at all that God presents us through the Gospel. However, it is easy to become disillusioned by the training process and commitment necessary for our release from whatever captivity we find ourselves in.

The following commentary is a strong illustration of how God purifies our hearts to enable us to live free if we are but willing to submit to his loving care.

The God of Jacob, by J. C. Lambert, B. D.:

Few of God’s names are more suggestive than the one in the verse before us--the God of Jacob. It is very instructive, for example, and very comforting too, to find that God is willing to have His name so closely associated with that of a human being.

The vastness of the material universe, with all its myriad hosts of suns and stars, sometimes staggers our faith, and makes us wonder if human life can really be the object of the Almighty care and love.

To all such questionings we find an answer in this beautiful name. The God of unfathomable space and immeasurable time is not unmindful of the life of man, the Lord of all those starry hosts--He also is the God of Jacob.

And then this name shows, still further, that God cares not only for human beings, but for individual souls. The God of Jacob must be—…

You can read the whole context of this lesson here, but the part that is so incredibly meaningful is that our God is:

… One who purifies His sons [and daughters] by painful trial. Jacob has been called “a Janus, with two faces, one turned upwards to heaven, the other downwards to hell.”

But Jacob was more than a Janus, for Janus only had two faces, while Jacob had two hearts.

His two names point to his two natures--Jacob and Israel, the natural man and the spiritual man, the supplanter of his brother and the prince of God.

Now, here was the problem of Jacob’s life: how is the natural man to be spiritualized; how is the sinner to become a saint; how is the Jacob nature to be cast out, and the Israel nature to prevail?

And this was the answer which God gave on every page of Jacob’s history, it can only be done by sore and bitter trial.

As a refiner of silver or gold deals with the impure but precious metal, so did God deal with this wayward child of His love.

He sent him sorrow upon sorrow, until all the earthiness and dross was purged out of his heart, and Jacob became, not only in name, but in very nature, Israel, the prince of God.

Selah.


Hidden With Christ In God

“We are not fundamentally free; external circumstances are not in our hands, they are in God’s hands, the one thing in which we are free is in our personal relationship to God. We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us, or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.” Oswald Chambers, Conformed to His Image

What does John Gill’s statement about liberty through the Gospel promise that you and I may not presently be experiencing? Freedom from blindness and darkness? Freedom from the bondage of sin, or captivity of some kind?

When I posted the song “Need You Now, I did not do so for myself (sometimes I put a song out there that I really need at the time). There was something about the song that spoke to me, but mostly I thought it might bless someone else who was struggling to find victory in their life. As soon as I posted that evening I began to listen to the song and weep, not understanding why.

It wasn’t out of fear. After all, I have overcome my fear of cancer and its devastating effects to my body, finances, and relationships. For crying out loud, I courageously stood up to a tornado a couple of weeks ago (if you missed that you can read about it here).

However, over the last few days I have repeatedly visited that song and continued to cry out to God and process what it was that He might be trying to show me through the deeply moving lyrics.

He began to show me my fears, and areas of my life where I was defeated when problems arise (tribulation, misunderstanding, and slander). Though they seem small in comparison to the courage it takes to stand against the big storms in my life, they have the potential to be equally overwhelming. Maybe more so.

I challenge you to do the same. Listen to the song and cry out to God like the psalmists did and let Him show you your weaknesses.

Oswald Chambers does a beautiful job of describing the necessity of rising above our circumstances. It is essential to our freedom. This is what he says in the devotion Are You Obsessed by Something in “My Utmost for His Highest”:

Are you obsessed by something? You will probably say, “No, by nothing,” but all of us are obsessed by something— usually by ourselves, or, if we are Christians, by our own experience of the Christian life. But the psalmist says that we are to be obsessed by God.

The abiding awareness of the Christian life is to be God Himself, not just thoughts about Him. The total being of our life inside and out is to be absolutely obsessed by the presence of God.

A child’s awareness is so absorbed in his mother that although he is not consciously thinking of her, when a problem arises, the abiding relationship is that with the mother.

In that same way, we are to “live and move and have our being” in God (Acts 17:28), looking at everything in relation to Him, because our abiding awareness of Him continually pushes itself to the forefront of our lives.

If we are obsessed by God, nothing else can get into our lives— not concerns, nor tribulation, nor worries. And now we understand why our Lord so emphasized the sin of worrying.

How can we dare to be so absolutely unbelieving when God totally surrounds us? To be obsessed by God is to have an effective barricade against all the assaults of the enemy.

“He himself shall dwell in prosperity . . .” (Psalm 25:13). God will cause us to “dwell in prosperity,” keeping us at ease, even in the midst of tribulation, misunderstanding, and slander, if our “life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

We rob ourselves of the miraculous, revealed truth of this abiding companionship with God. “God is our refuge . . .” (Psalm 46:1). Nothing can break through His shelter of protection.


Selah.