Home / Faith / A Short Discourse On Christian Liberty

A Short Discourse On Christian Liberty

‘They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the LORD without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.’
Westminster Confession of Faith 20.3

What is Christian Liberty as defined in the Scriptures? The Westminster Confession first of all explains what it is not. It is not a free ticket to do whatever we want to do – to practice any sin or cherish any lust. That is how liberty is perceived and practiced in the world. According to the world, liberty is being free to identify however you want and to do whatever you want however and whenever you want.

True Christian Liberty is the antithesis of this. It is the freedom to do what we know we ought to do. And what we ought to do is established by God, for the church and the world. It is ‘serving the LORD without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.’ In short, Christian liberty is the freedom to be who God made us to be. When we use our freedom in Christ in the same way as the world does, we are abusing and misusing the liberty we have been given.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

The freedom Christ has gained for us means that we are no longer under the curse of the law and sin. As we are freed from bondage to the law, the Spirit liberates us to pursue righteousness in hope, as faith works through love. For Paul, Christian liberty is freedom from sin to serve God willingly in all things. Christian liberty speaks directly to our relationship with God in Christ and how that affects every facet of our lives right down to how we eat and drink. ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Christian liberty is abused by God’s people when we shift the focus of all that we do away from God and onto ourselves and the doctrines of others. Without building on Christ as the foundation for all our decisions, all questions about what we should eat, drink, watch or play become like building our lives on sinking sand rather than building on solid rock. When Christ sets us free from sin to know and serve Him, we walk into the path of Christian liberty to hear and obey His words, rather than the philosophies and commandments of the culture around us.

1 Corinthians 10:29 Why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?

As believers in Christ, our consciences, which are guided by the Spirit of God, convict us of right and wrong, and are subject to God alone. Other people’s consciences can no longer dictate what we believe and how we worship and live before God. While we must be considerate toward those whose consciences differ from ours, letting another’s conscience dictate the trajectory of our lives instead of God’s law, is slavery to sin rather than freedom in practicing Christian liberty.

Christian liberty is not a yoke we bear, but a joy we practice. It is delighting ourselves in the LORD and then doing whatever we want because what we want aligns with what God wants. Liberty asks what the LORD wants us to do rather than what is wrong with what I want to do. It is total submission which yields total delight. The question is not whether we can watch movies, drink wine, go dancing or play sports. But whether we can honestly say we do these things to the glory of God’s name. Abuse happens when we find excuses for doing the things that we cannot honestly do to the glory of God, and are not prepared to surrender these habits for Christ’s sake. Christian liberty is learning to bear the fruit of the Spirit in everything we do as we subject ourselves to Christ.

Let’s be truthful with ourselves: do we practice what we do to please God or please self? If we are still indulging in habits to please ourselves, we are abusing our Christian liberty. Let all be done in holiness and righteousness. For anything not done with His glory in mind, is not done with Christ in mind at all.

‘Heavenly Father, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me so that all I do may done for Your praise and glory. Amen.’

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

Check Also

Waiting: A Lesson From A Sheep Dog

Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul ...

One comment

  1. Very good. I like the way you wrote on this sometimes “ticklish” subject. When we love the Lord and delight in Him, there are a many things we no longer want to do and a lot of things we now desire to do because our chief desire is to please Him.
    Thank you for a great article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *