Freedom in Christ
So I met with my buddy for coffee a few months back. We had a great chat together, a few laughs, some updates on things going on in our lives; we chatted about the latest developments in world news, shared prayer needs and had a brief prayer together. As I reached for my bill my buddy beat me to it. “I’ll get that,” he said.
I thanked him and we moved on “See you next week,” we simultaneously shouted back to each other.
The next week, our visit was much the same. There were new life developments, unfolding stories in the news, some answers to previous prayers, new opportunities to discuss, and further matters for prayer. Again, when we were done, my buddy snatched up the bill! I protested, but he explained he wanted to do this every time as a gesture of appreciation for our friendship. Of course I pulled back saying I wasn’t deserving, but he insisted and explained how it was his delight to do this.
Well, it was only a weekly cup of coffee, and I could see how I’d be robbing him of a pleasure by digging my heels in, so I thanked him further and left it at that.
In his letter to the believers in Galatia Paul writes,
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Gal. 5:13).
To those in Rome he exclaims, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” (Rom. 6:1-2). And again, “Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” (v. 15).
What do these verses have in common? And what do they have to do with my buddy’s generosity? These verses are warnings against taking the grace — the undeserved favor — of God for granted. Christ has paid for the sin of all believers. He has set us free of our sin debt before God. But that does not mean we should now take personal sin or His grace lightly, viewing forgiveness as a free pass to indulge our fleshly selves. “By no means!” shouts Paul. “God forbid!” read other translations.
It’s like my friend’s generosity… his “grace” to me in buying my coffees. How disrespectful it would be of me if, along with my coffee, I began to order full course dinners, sides, and rich desserts knowing my buddy would be stuck with the bill.
Today’s discipleship topic is “Freedom.” Christ has set the believer free, but we must not begin to take such “amazing grace” lightly. This freedom came at great cost and suffering to the One we ought love the most.
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