Concerning Christian Liberty in the West


Merriam-Webster defines liberty as “the quality or state of being free.” In America, freedom is indeed one of the most valued qualities life affords us. We love Patrick Henry’s bold demand, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” When it comes to liberties that Christ Himself has paid for with His own death, however, many American Christians lose their boldness in the name of sacrificial love for the “weaker brother,” or even become the weaker brother by being a good sport and not rocking the boat. What I mean is that there are many areas of life God has left us believers free that we have allowed to be bound in a tyrannical grip by scrupulous individuals, well-meaning as they may be. Restrictions that have been maintained by a forceful grip exist in areas that God has left His people free, and that is a serious misrepresentation of God Himself. Though there have been many legitimate concerns regarding various liberties, the Scriptural and historical evidence reveals there have been several diversions from biblical Christian liberty.

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The Necessity of the Law

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“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (English Standard Version, Matt. 5:17). These are the words of Christ, who brought the gospel of grace to the world. One might would expect the law to be antithetical to the gospel, but that is not the attitude of Christ toward it. The Lord says, “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19). Upon examining the Scriptures, one can see that the law, given by Moses, was given to aid God’s covenant people in the Old and New Testaments toward holiness by faith rather than prideful legalism.

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A Way that Is Right and a Deadly Way that Seems Right

Wow, how unkind is that kind of language? The biblical author is actually telling the reader that, regardless of what he or she thinks, there is a way they may think is right but actually leads to death. Not just sorrow or some vague misfortune. That might be somewhat tolerable in our culture. No. It clearly says, “This way you think is right and good is actually going to kill you in the end.”

Have you left for your safe space yet?

We have a culture that cannot tolerate such language. It feeds off of so-called tolerance and acceptance at the expense of anything that falls outside the culturally accepted values and systems of thought. In other words, if you aren’t accepting of what we accept, then we will not accept you into anything.

Do you need any proof? Remember the Christian bakers who refused to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple seeking to have a faux wedding? I said faux intentionally because Scripture makes it clear that God has defined what weddings really are, and they are between a man and a woman (Gen. 2, Mark 10). The case I am referring to is Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which you can look into and see is still ongoing. The Christian owners of the business simply refused a service they believed would go against conscience, a conscience held captive by Scripture. For this, they have lost their business and have been fined. You can look at any, and I mean any dictionary and not find any definition of tolerance that looks anything like this.

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An Effort to Get the Horse Before the Cart: A Study of Regeneration and How it Precedes Faith

A couple months ago, I was asked to provide evidence from Scripture how regeneration could precede faith. The medium of the conversation, Facebook, provided limited means to do this. Taking the time to work out the theology through biblical study, scholarly research, examination of church history, and prayer has rewarded me with a greater grasp on the doctrine. Putting this into writing has also allowed the theology derived from the Scriptures to flow into a system of logic and inspire worship at the same time. That has been the motivation behind this: the desire to worship God rightly. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, “We worship what we know” (Jn. 4:22 ESV). One cannot rightly worship if one does not have an accurate knowledge of God. Worship is a matter of ascribing worth to an object, acknowledging the worthiness of it. We will never be able to fully worship God without error until we are glorified in Him in heaven, but we can and should seek to worship Him rightly by seeking to know Him as revealed in His Word as best as we can. Worship is the goal of theology, and the practice of theological study to the best of one’s ability is part of the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37 ESV). To that end, let us press in to know God’s glory in the doctrine of regeneration.

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David Brainerd: A Life Given for Christ

“I continued in a solemn frame, lifting up my heart to God for assistance and grace that . . . my whole soul might be taken up continually in concern for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom . . . Continued in this frame till I dropped asleep” (Brainerd 167). These are the words of David Brainerd, missionary to the American Indians in the 18th century. Though he was continually afflicted with illnesses and depression, Brainerd persisted in the call on his life to preach the gospel. He lived a short life, dying at the age of 29, but as John Piper says regarding why David Brainerd’s life is significant to him, “Brainerd’s life is a vivid, powerful testimony to the truth that God can and does use weak, sick, discouraged, beat-down, lonely, struggling saints, who cry to him day and night, to accomplish amazing things for his glory” (Kindle Locations 111-113). David Brainerd’s life remains an inspiration for Christians today because it is a testimony of the extraordinary sustaining grace that God gives to even the feeblest of His children to accomplish His will.

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A Simple but Vital Reminder

All of us have various interests. Some of you are into achieving a certain number of steps for your Fitbit. Others are focusing on achieving better grades during the summer semester. Everyone is thinking about what they should be doing now to best benefit their lives for the present time. Sometimes we need reminders to keep us on track. Often, I will set a reminder on my iPhone to tell me when I need to make an appointment or speak to someone or even leave to go to church. It helps me stay focused on what is really important. The Bible works similarly to keep our lives on track with what is of eternal significance.

We often need to reminded that this life is not all that we have to live for. It is good for us to achieve things like fitness goals or academic excellence. Both those and many other things are valuable to our lives, but the reality we have to face is that you are going to die someday and someone else will get your stuff. It’s not a pleasant reality, but it’s the only one there is. Since this is so, what really matters in life? The Lord gives us a reminder in Jeremiah when He says

The knowledge of God, as in a relationship, is eternal life (Jn. 17:3). In all our endeavors, we must keep in mind that whatever we set out to achieve must be with a heavenly mindset. That means I am the best cook I can be because I want my life to demonstrate that I value excellence as the Lord values what is excellent. It is not so I can get the glory as the best cook in the business, but because I want to honor my King with the work of my hands, just as Paul instructs us to do (Col. 3:17, 23). The whole idea of the Christian life is to make Christ look as glorious and satisfying as He really is so He is magnified in our lives and others are drawn to Him. To have this understanding that Jesus is the only source of true satisfaction in life makes Him look really good, and it gives us the joy we long for. Nothing in this life will ever satisfy the desire of your soul apart from Jesus. Look to the Bible to direct you to what is eternally significant, and pray that the Lord will grant you the heartfelt desire of Isaiah 26:8, “Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (NIV).