“One of my neighbors is an attorney,” Stan commented one morning while we waited for breakfast.
“That’s too bad,” I replied with a smile.
“No,” Stan said, “he’s one of the good ones. I very much enjoy his company. In fact, he and his wife were over for dinner the other night.”
“Good time?” I asked.
“It was,” Stan replied. “At one point in the evening we had an interesting discussion about freedom. We were talking about the rights and obligations of free speech and other freedoms.”
Continuing, he added, “My neighbor talked about the nuances of the law, such as whether if someone says or does something that could cause harm, but it doesn’t, whether that person can or should be punished.”
“Kind of like the old question of whether a person has the right to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater when there is no fire. Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “The argument of whether it’s okay even if no harm is caused.”
“At one point in our discussion,” Stan continued, “we got on the subject of a person who drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I pointed out that I thought that doing so was prohibited behavior even if there’s no harm.”
“Did he agree with that?” I asked.
“He did,” Stan responded. “And then we went on to talk about how that relates to our faith walks.”
“In what way?”
“About how our acceptance of the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross frees us from the law of sin and death,” Stan responded, “grants us the assurance of salvation, and how that relates to the free will God allows us to have and to exercise.”
“Free will,” I commented. “That’s a huge subject I’m not sure I understand. Sometimes I wish God would just make me do what He wants.”
“That’s not how God works,” Stan said. “We can talk about that another day.”
“But for the moment,” he continued, “I think the huge subject of free will boils down to the somewhat simplistic bottom-line notion that while I’m free to do whatever I want and it won’t affect the salvation I have accepted as God’s free and gracious gift, being a disciple precludes me from exercising my free will in that direction.”
“Yeah,” I said, “I can agree with that, but what about the notion that since we are covered by God’s grace, mercy, and His forgiveness, we can just go on sinning so there will be more of God’s grace and mercy poured out on us?”
Stan looked at me for a few seconds without saying anything, and then said, “You’re kidding, right?”
“Indeed,” I replied with a smile. “Just kidding. I take seriously what the apostle Paul wrote about this. I’m covered by the finished work of the cross through the love, grace, and mercy of God, but that doesn’t mean that I can keep on sinning and doing whatever I want.”
“Good,” Stan replied. “You scared me there for a minute!”
“Our salvation,” he continued, “is to make a difference in how we live our lives while we wait for the train to glory.”
“But,” I said, “what if our lives aren’t any different from what they were before. Then what?”
“Better take a closer look,” Stan replied, “and examine from what we have been set free, what we are free to do, and what we are not.”
Bible verses to consider:
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be! Romans 6:15.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that I am freed from the law of sin and death by accepting the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross. Thank you for all of the freedom you have made available to me in being free to be yours. I confess that too often I use the freedom you have granted to choose to walk my own way apart from you. Please, forgive that foolish approach to living for you the life you have given me to live. And please, Father, help me to follow every step of your lead in being and doing only what you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision to be freed from the law of sin and death so you will be in His eternal presence when your time here is completed? If no, why? What’s standing in the way? If you have accepted that provision, how are you doing in living your life for Him on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as He would like? If you sense the need for some changes in how you exercise the freedom you have been given, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?