Summary: Study of the relationship between law, love and freedom.
Grant S. Sisson, MSCP
Independence Day weekend 2012
There are so many things that we could speak of regarding this weekend.
1. How much a part of the American psyche our love for freedom is
2. Our willingness over the years to sacrifice all that we have, even our very lives, for the sake of passing this freedom along to others. And our willingness to hear the derogatory comments made by our philosophical enemies and continue to work to maintain our freedom anyway
3. “Freedom is not free!” And not all the sacrifices are physical.
4. Christians fight a war that is not physical in nature. We love those who are on the opposite side of the debate, knowing that God made them too, and that Christ died for us all. So we train not with M-16’s and grenades and tanks, but with words, words whose motivation is to speak the Truth so that all people can consider it for themselves, words rightly chosen to soften hearts but also to tear down strongholds that the enemy of us all – Satan, our Adversary – builds through his lies. Eph.5.6 “Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them, 8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light – 9 for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” It is our duty according to the Scriptures not only to refuse to allow Satan’s lies to infiltrate our own hearts, but to refute the lies so that others will not be lost. Balance between Truth and Love. Either one cannot exist in the absence of the other.
5. And Paul says that we can be bound up and deceived by words - Col.2:4 “I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable.”
6. And those who dare to stand for the Truth stand on solid ground – I Pet 2:6 - “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.” Again emphasizing the spiritual nature of the war we fight.
7. And so freedom’s foundation is philosophical – it is based upon thought and word, not tanks and cannons. Words indeed are stronger than steel. If we all maintain a doctrine of love and respect for all, then tanks and cannons are irrelevant.
TR – So let’s talk about freedom this morning.
Freedom in Christ
The first time we see this emphasis on freedom is when Christ set us free from the “Law of Sin and Death.”
1. Freedom from Law
a. Gal.5.1 “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.”
b. God’s Law given to Moses at Mt Sinai is a good law. We have been instructed to continue to respect it. Jesus said that the one, who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. So we continue to respect the Law, as it reveals to us the nature of God.
c. But we are not bound to it as though salvation can be attained through law. The law served its purpose, which was to stabilize society until the people grew enough to have a chance to understand how to live by love. Gal 3:21b “For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.” But it is evident that we are saved not by law, but by faith. Gal. 3:11 “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘The one who does them shall live by them.’”
d. So we are not under law, if we are living our lives in faith in Jesus Christ. Gal 5:18, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
e. Now having said all that, I want to make one qualification. Too often we take the attitude that the Law (the whole Old Testament!) is not to have influence on our lives, because Jesus did away with it. Wrong! Jesus said, “For I came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.” We can look to the Law of Moses to understand the concepts by which He wants His people to live. What is the fulfillment of the Law? Gal 5:14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If God gave us the law, then the law reflects God. We violate that law at our own peril, because how can it be said that we love if we steal, or murder, or violate the precepts contained in it? And we know that God is love, and that we have been commanded to live in love.