I’ve heard people say that if you preach too much about our freedom in Christ, then believers will start to think that they have a license to live however they want. But is that the truth? And if it was, would that be a reason to stop preaching the true Word of God?
Paul starts to deal with some of these issues in his letter to the Galatian church.
At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.
It’s obvious from this verse that Paul’s talking about the Judaizers who were causing him so much trouble. They felt that the Gentiles needed to come under the Law of Moses in order to maintain their salvation.
In my experience, this verse is as applicable today as it was back then. There are Christians in our generation who believe in a set of rules that must be followed. They believe there’s a certain lifestyle that must be adhered to.
Understand me – if the Bible calls something sin, then God hates it. If we’re involved in it, we need to repent and turn from it. So I’m not talking about a freedom to sin.
What I am talking about, are believers who try to make it so hard for people to grow. If a child spills his milk, you expect that; he’s a child. Why don’t we give young believers that same benefit of the doubt?
I’ve been told that you can’t emphasize our freedom in Christ. It causes believers to “backslide” and fall into sin.
Well, I’ve been a pastor for 30 years. I preach about our sonship and freedom in Christ. I preach about the walk of maturity and power. So I think that I have some experience in this area.
What I’ve found over the years is that the vast majority of those I taught have gone on to a mature Christian walk as well as an understanding of their call to ministry. Yes, some have fallen away. But most of those who fell into sin, started by first rejecting me and my teaching.
Paul makes it very clear…
But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
My belief is that new believers should start out being shown what they need to do to grow in Christ. Reading the Word, attending a church, tithing, praying, etc. Just like physical children, they need to be shown how to be responsible with their salvation.
Along with that, they need to be shown the freedom and joy of maturity. That’s what works in the natural. Children look up to their parents. They want to be free to drive their own car someday. They want to have a job and have their own money.
If you never show people what God offers, they’ll never strive for a deeper walk. It’s not natural for a 25-year-old, living with his parents, to be told that if he cleans his room he’ll get an extra treat after dinner. There’s a freedom that comes with maturity.
We just have to learn this truth in the family of God. I like the way the Apostle Paul sums it all up.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
I believe that given the choice, most Christians will choose the power and freedom of a mature walk in Christ over sin every time.
Question: What’s been your experience with legalistic believers?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017