Much is being said lately of “Freedom in Christ.” It is by God’s grace that we have this freedom. Only, is your liberty causing others to stumble? I’m not only speaking of our freedom to do things, but how we communicate our freedom in such a way that doesn’t that doesn’t make other’s liberty lumpy.
“cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion withoutconfession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Granted, there is a tremendous freedom in our walk with Christ. To put it another way, we can do anything!
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT
When folks discover this freedom it’s exciting and liberating. With Christian maturity, our personal freedom moves from haphazard to holy. We learn to release those things which once burdened us. Sometimes though, as we discover new found freedoms, we foist this upon others who are simply not ready for it. For example, many in post-modern Christianity not only smoke cigars and drink eccentrically labeled beer, but they also want everyone else to know that they are doing it. I am not saying that doing either of those things are sin, or any other number of “fringe” behaviors, but I am asking if it’s the proper way to communicate our liberty in Christ to others.
Case in point. Here locally in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador, there is a huge problem with alcohol. it is not uncommon to find folks laying on the streets, in gutters, and along various paths after a Saturday night. When one comes to Christ here and personally chooses to renounce alcohol, it’s considered a fruit of his or her faith. On several occasions, I have spoken with some of these kinds of people. Invariably the question arises as to whether or not “I” think that drinking is a sin.
I always hesitate in answering that question regardless of how many times it comes up, because I know that there is something deeper going on inside the person who is asking. But, again, the purpose of this post is not to decide which behaviors are sin and which are not, my intent is to question how we communicate our liberty in Christ to others.
Should we boldly and publicly proclaim our liberties? Should we just tells others that it’s ok to do what you want to do because you yourselves are doing it too? Consider the following:
Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. 1 John 2:1o NLT
Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. 1 Corinthians 8:13 ESV
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Romans 14:13 NIV
They will trip over their own tongues. Everyone who sees them will shake his head. Psalm 64:8 God’s Word Translation.
It seems to me, that if people put as much energy into preaching Christ as they do in proclaiming their liberty in Christ, we might make more disciples of Him and less of us. What do you think? Yes, the truth will set you free, but your truth and freedom may ensnare others if communicated in an untimely manner. What filters, if any, have you established in your heart and mind for when a person comes to you and asks, “is it ok for me to _____________?” Should we live our free lives without reservations? Must we relegate our personal freedoms to behind private doors?