I must confess: when Paul first asked me if I’d be willing to preach on one of GFC’s core values, I got excited. But when I found out the value he had in mind was freedom, my excitement was dampened. The notion of freedom isn’t something that has historically ‘fired me up.’
When I thought of freedom, the first thought in my mind is Christians taking liberty in moral issues and then when confonted, just chalking it up to ‘freedom.’ Knowing that it could be abused in this way, I wasn’t all that happy about preaching it as something we should pursue.
But that was before I studied it… and my mind was changed completely. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was super-excited to preach it!
I began the message by attempting to begin to answer the question, ‘What is Christian Freedom?’ Answering that question alone could be at least 3 sermons. Knowing that my answer would have to be somewhat incomplete because of time constraints, I gave this opening definition of Christian freedom:
Christian freedom is the ability to participate in the life of God so that our desires are conformed to his, our will becomes his, enabling us to always do what we want without necessity or coercion.
In other words, it is the ability to always act for our joy and for his glory—and have those two as one.
By ‘participate in the life of God,’ I meant
- Freedom of Access to God as Father
- Freedom from the Law in God the Son
- Freedom to Live in God the Spirit
Where once we had no freedom to approach God in prayer, now our prayers are acceptable and pleasing to him. Where once we had no freedom from the Law, but were at once both commanded to work and condemned to die, now we have freedom from works and freedom to rest in justification. Where once we had no freedom to please God or to do as we desired, now the Spirit of God indwells us, conforming our desires to his.
The more we participate in the life of Holy Trinity, the more we’re conformed to him from the inside-out. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit, we gain true freedom of will so that we may choose and desire whatever we want, and since what we want is in line with the character of God, what brings us joy will be the same things that bring him glory. And he gives us the power to do it.
That’s a great thing to think about!