Christian Liberty

True Christian liberty is the freedom and peace in which we walk as we follow Jesus.  I have talked about this before, so I won’t go into a long dissertation.  If my focus is Him, rather than on what I do or what the world offers, I am completely free.  One of my favorite stories is about Charles Spurgeon and his cigar.  At a community service, the pastor who was to introduce Spurgeon took the opportunity to launch a tirade against the evils of tobacco.  As the pastor went on and on, Spurgeon reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigar.  He lit it and waited until the man was finished.  Then Spurgeon stood before the crowd and said, “I smoke this cigar to the glory of God!” 

Now, I don’t know if that story is absolutely true because I can’t find the source, but I do know that Spurgeon smoked cigars and did so without shame.  In fact, the following is supposed to be a direct quote:

I wish to say that I’m not ashamed of anything whatever that I do, and I don’t feel that smoking makes me ashamed, and therefore I mean to smoke to the glory of God.

The point, of course, is that Christian liberty comes to us through a real relationship with Jesus.  Some things no one should do.  Some things some should not do. Discerning the latter depends on listening to the voice of the Lord for ourselves.  That’s Christian liberty.

Comments?

8 Comments

Filed under Freedom, grace, Legalism, Relationship, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Christian Liberty

  1. graceandgiggles

    I quit smoking in March of last year. I held much condemnation for smoking since re-committing my life to Christ because “Christians don’t smoke”. I come from a family where my dad (pastor) and my brother (just a few years ago to my knowledge) kept beer in the produce drawer in the fridge. Just in case someone was visiting and happened upon the contents of our fridge. It was always about external. Always about what we did. I can still reel from that today. The difference? Jesus is faithful beyond my issues or my reeling! Amen!

    • Any performance system breeds compromise and hypocrisy. “Is a little wrong?” “My motives are good so I can do it.” “As long as others don’t see.” And, yes, these systems stick with us. We learn them and they make sense to us.
      I praise Jesus with you! He is bigger than any of our systems!

  2. Bill Metzger

    I lift up my glass of Colores Del Sol Malbec (2009) to the Glory of God. OK, make it TWO glasses! Colossians 2:16-17!!!

  3. Kay

    I see this as: one person’s freedom is not the same as ‘grace’.
    Too many people think it’s just great they can drink, card-gamble, etc. and still call themselves
    Christians; they have accepted Christ as Savior. They are leaning very close to the candle.
    BUT, the Lord speaks clearly that what maybe ok for someone may become a stumbling block for another. They won’t touch that. To give up what might harm another for the shear fact it could harm them spiritually is true Grace AND Agape Love. Yes, it is no one’s business;
    but the Lord knows our hearts and why we must ‘push the envelope’ to prove we have a ‘right’…it’s called ‘flesh’.
    The Law, Old Covenant, was put before the people for only one reason, to lead us to the New Covenant. IF we are using either of these covenants as permission to stay in our flesh, we are harming ourselves AND others watching to see what a Christian REALLY is. Many don’t care what they are believing and doing with that belief is harming The Church, The Body of Christ. Someone that will love as Christ loves will tell their flesh to “shut up” yet
    live out the Spirit’s freedom/liberation.
    The tirade from the pastor, AND Spurgeon’s response was faulty at best. When Love is not present, it is death.
    Spurgeon could have taken the cigar (if this is even a true
    example) out of his pocket and preached a lesson FOR
    rather than slap the legalist. What occurs when you have weak Christians, non-believers, law-abiders/anything goes
    folks? IF we are reaching Muslims or Jews, would we cook pork? NOT if we love. Someone I love hates pork (for some reason he cannot state). Do I make
    food with pork anyway, for I really like it as does most of
    my family and friends? NOT if he is going to be at the meal. I have a Christian friend that was reared by an alcoholic. I do not present any alcohol EVER. Others do, for they haven’t learned that ‘giving love’ YET, and have
    liberty to drink. This is one of the BIG reasons to allow the Holy Spirit to massage our hearts. We don’t know how
    black our motives. Offered in Christ’s love, k

    • In general, I agree with your thoughts. There is a price to pay for sin and we don’t want to be guilty of belittling that price. I would not want to suggest that grace excuses or trivializes sin. On the other hand, grace is above sin. Grace points us to that relationship with the Savior in which we may walk with Him. As we keep our eyes on Him, as Bill has said in a comment, everything else fades. It isn’t about sin.

      So, if I confront someone who believes that he shouldn’t smoke and tell him that it is just fine with the Lord for him to smoke, I am just as guilty as the person who tells others they shouldn’t smoke. (Of course, I am not talking about health benefits here, just spiritual morality.) First, who am I to speak for the Lord? Second, what business is it of mine to judge the actions of my brother—particularly on things not in the Scripture? My job, whether I am his friend or his counselor, is to lead him to Jesus and teach him to ask Jesus. Jesus is the man’s Master and He will lead the man.

      In other words, I have no place in determining the right or wrong of an action in the life of my friend if that action is not directly addressed in Scripture. Even if it is, say something like adultery, I can only tell my friend what Scripture says and assure him that it is the Word of the Lord. I can warn, but not convict; proclaim, but not judge.

      Also, I agree with your heart toward those who struggle with some of these things. If I have friends who don’t eat pork, I will never set pork before them to test or teach them. I don’t drink or smoke, simply because I know that these would cause more problems than either would be worth. But I don’t judge those who do these things. I just want to walk in love toward others and not cause them more struggle. If my words challenge them, that seems to be different from my actions challenging them. So when someone asks me why I don’t drink, even though I don’t think drinking is wrong, I simply say that I don’t want my drinking to get in the way of my message. I honestly mean no judgment to anyone else in that.

  4. Bill Metzger

    First of all, YES, a glass of Malbec for you, too! 🙂
    It is correct to say that we must NEVER offend a weaker brother or sister by the liberty we have in Christ, IF that offense leads a weaker brother or sister into sin or causes them to take their eyes off of Jesus. But there MAY be a time to “offend” legalistic sensibilities IF it teaches/illustrates Grace and nothing but Grace, and “shocks” the individual’s eyes BACK TO JESUS AND JESUS ONLY. In other words, it’s not about me and my wine drinking (or abstention from such drinking); it’s about Jesus and ONLY Jesus. “Offending” someone back to that truth is more than worthwhile.

    • I agree, Bill. There are times when we must use our actions as well as our words to proclaim the freedom we have in Jesus. Most of the time that will not be for the weaker brother, but for the legalist who just wants us to live his way. For the most part, I don’t care if I offend someone like that.

      Jesus and only Jesus!

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