We must always understand Christian liberty as that which Christ has purchased and obtained through His death and resurrection for those who believe (Eph.1:3): it cannot be earned, bargained for, or purchased by us.
Liberty is “the fullest opportunity for man to be and do the very best that is possible for him.” Christian liberty simply speaks of those things that the Christian is free from and free for. In other words, Christian liberty is freedom from those things that threaten or enslave, and freedom for or to those things that God desires and commands. The opposite of liberty is bondage, and the only bondage that the Christian is called to be enslaved to is the yoke of Christ (Matt.11:28-30). Therefore, anything that does not “yoke” us to Christ in His present and effectual grace is not liberty.
The Christian is free from five spiritual enemies:
- The wrath of God (Rom.5:9; 8:1; John 3:36; Eph.2:3)
- The curse of the Law (Gal.3:10, 13; Rom.6:14)
- The bondage of sin (Rom.3:9; 6:6, 11, 18, 22)
- The terror of death (Rom.5:14ff; 1 Cor.15:55-57; Heb.2:15)
- The captivity of Satan (2 Tim.2:26; 1 John 5:19)
The Christian is free for or to do five spiritual privileges:
- To enjoy the liberty of sonship (Gal.4:1-7)
- To experience the liberty of Truth (John 8:32)
- To enter the liberty of approaching God (Heb.10:19-22; 4:16)
- To express the liberty of service to others (Gal.5:13)
- To experience growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Pet.3:18)
How can we attain this liberty?
Galatians 5:13—“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
- We must understand that Christian liberty does not mean we are free from temptation.
- We must know that our liberty in Christ is freedom to do right, not freedom to do what our old nature desires and dictates.
- We must be convinced that liberty in the Lord is not a license to sin.
- Whenever Christian liberty is used to serve self and not the highest need and the greatest good of others (love), we are abusing our privileges.
- Living in liberty does not mean renouncing our rights, but being willing to forego the use of them for the sake of others.
- The constraining principle and power in the Christian’s life is love (2 Cor.5:14), and love will make us less self-centered and more considerate of others.
- The remedy from self-centeredness or desiring to please our flesh is to walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:16). The greatest motivation for holiness is the regenerating work of the Spirit when He writes on our heart the Law of God (puts His life as a rule of life in us which awakens and determines desire). The strength for expressing this holiness is never produced by our own strength—it is only produced by the Spirit of God as we abide in Christ’s Word (choose to believe His Word).