Thursday, August 9, 2007

Shackled Liberty

I have a bone to pick! I must admit I am irked! Now, I pray that my spirit is led in a way that I can communicate clearly without letting my sentiments dictate my writing in truth and of scripture. Why is my liberty in Christ Jesus is always attacked by those who profess themselves Christian or Believers? They pick on inconsequential issues, and declare my deliberate choices of faithful living/dependency upon the Lord, unwise; at worse, unbiblical. I am compelled to defend the truth against dangerous ignorance, and the liberty of the gospel commanded by Christ, our Savior.


CHRIST, OUR CONDEMNER?
What is amazing to me is that Christ himself, has never condemned a sinner for being a sinner!

"So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8:7-11


What does it mean to condemn?
to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure
to pronounce to be guilty; sentence to punishment -- http://www.dictionary.com/

I have heard John 3:16 quoted so many times that is the easiest passages to remember. However, rarely, I have heard the subsequent passages quoted.

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." verses 17-19


Additional Scriptures to read: John 8:15-16; John 8:26

If these passages are true, I ask again WHY, are so many Christians and institutional churches, subtly/obviously placing condemnations (shackles) upon other Believers/Christians?

THE CONDEMNED
Before we go on further, there must be clarity. Condemnation is only limited to those who have heard the message of salvation (Christ and the Gospel) and rejected it. The act and dispensation of condemnation belongs solely, rightfully in the Father's grasp.
"...but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:18-19


Additional scripture: John 8:24

This makes so much sense to me as a Believer. Why would we, as true at heart, Believers be condemned for sins He has already paid for? Romans 3:25

I absolutely cannot complete this post without making this noteworthy comment: In the gospels, the only type of people Christ spoke condemning of, were the Pharisees. The Pharisees were "pious", "righteous by works", "glory-loving" people, professing to be godly men. He called them the worst names!

Here's a sample; you don't need to search too deep to find more!

"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also." Matthew 23:24-26
;

Additional scriptures: Matthew 23:14; Matthew 23:27; Matthew 23:13

It's important to keep in mind that Christ continually declares throughout the gospels that He spoke under direction and witness of the Father. John 14:10

I daresay, I'm very hard pressed to find, in general terms, how Christianity today, is any different from the Pharisees of Jesus' time.

(Generally, the truth is Christianity as a society, have gotten away from reflecting the actions of the early church; Acts 2)

LOUD ACTIONS, SILENT WORDS
We as a Christ-Believing society, MUST be full of care of what we speak and how we behave towards the unbelieving society! Presenting ourselves as holier-than-thou, is a surefire way to earn condemnation from the very Christ we serve!

"Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;" 1 Timothy 4:2

Do we "speak lies" through hypocrisy? What does our history tell us? How are we viewed by the unbelieving society?

"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:16

What are legalistic "do's and don'ts", but shackled liberty?? They are requirements/judgements placed upon a person in order to be "right". They are attempts of bondage by the devil through the impression of "holiness" which may appear "right" to most. Make no mistake... we are saved and made righteous by grace, the free gift of the Lord, from whence liberty comes! Ephesians 2:8-10
Additional scripture: 1 Peter 5:5-7

BROKEN SHACKLES
What are we waiting for? We have been set free from the law of sin and death! Romans 8:2 The green light isn't going to get any greener! Here we stand still, amid broken shackles, refusing to budge, dazed and confused. Continue in His Word, BE His disciples and the truth shall set you free! John 8:31-32 Why does the word "Liberty" set teeth on edge? The only being in existence who should be frightened of that word is the devil, for he is the one who wants us in bondage!

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

Additional scripture: Ephesians 6:12

SWEET, SWEET LIBERTY
When true, heartfelt Believers receive Christ, and make a conscience effort to know Him, seek out after Him, then we have made a choice to walk in submission to Him, His will, and in the end, His Spirit. The Holy Spirit should rule our lives, be THE "rule of thumb" of our lives. We know that we cannot be righteous in our flesh Romans 8:3, so we, therefore, must be ruled by the Spirit. By this, the fruit of the Spirit manifests itself as this;

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" Galatians 5:22-23
;

Additional scripture: Ephesians 5:8-10

Where the spirit of the Lord is, there shall be liberty! 2 Corinthians 3:17 . If we can overcome the glut of biblical illiteracy that plagues Christianity today, we provide the tools for the Holy Spirit to work within us. When this happens, we make ourselves "relate able" to the unbelieving society. We, then bring a "relate able" gospel to those who desperately need His liberty from the shackles of sin.

"...How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:15



4 comments:

  1. This post means a lot to me. Lately I've been prone to judging other Christians because I get stuck in the middle of arguments or because I hear one side of the story and let my own prejudices decide whether the stories are true or not. I need to stop condemning those people and just be a good witness and friend to them, no matter how much they may be flawed or come off the wrong way.

    I do have to wonder about modern time Pharisees, however. I've seen pastors foudn out in their sins. One in particular turned down counseling offers as well as a smaller job offer that would take him away from being the official pastor. He went away and started his own church where he now constantly promotes those who have come away from their sin. They act like their sins make them more pious and righteous than those who have not gone through similar hard times and come out of their sins, etc. I don't begrudge a man for admitting his sins and recovering in the Lord, but I don't think that a man who has committed adultery should be the head pastor of a church. Sure he can be involved in the ministry, but not the head. I also don't think it right to wave around your sins to promote yourself instead of the Lord.

    You are so right about judging others. Condemning the world straight out is why so many nonbelievers thing Christians are close minded and extremely strict with rules.

    One last thing I want to ask about. What are your thoughts on condemning nonbelievers who have heard the word? I have a Muslim friend who used to be a Christian. When she was a Christian she was full throttle. She was excited about the word and excited about church. That's all I know. I'm not sure if she was ever excited about Jesus. Do these kind of people who switch over go to heavne if they once were Christians and meant the sinners prayer they prayed? Anyway, the main thing I wanted to talk about was that this friend of mine was recently condemned by her grandparents, who are Christians. They basically said she was going to Hell, said they loved her, implied they never wanted to see her again, and hung up. I don't think we as Christians should be so quick to condemn. God will jusge when the time comes. Sure, if my friend never accepts Christ she'll go to Hell, but she still has a chance as long as she is alive and I'm not planning on rejecting her and being a bad witness to her. What are your thoughts?

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  2. NYC thank you for your comment! I will be responding to your comment after I have had time to pray upon and refer to the Word so that I may contribute to clarity and truth, the one thing that is lacking in this Christian society! So this comment is to let you know that I have received your request and will be responding soon. So check back in an hour or so :) God bless!

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  3. We are called to do majorly two things:

    1)Fellowship with Christ 1 Cor. 1:9

    2)Love others. This act encompasses any selfless acts for His sake. This includes sharing the gospel.

    "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs" John 21:15-17

    In our act of love we are called to exhort, reprove and rebuke in LOVE for the SAKE of salvation.

    "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:2

    Condemning, which can be the same as judging, was never on our "to do list"! It was never on Christ's "to do" list! John 3:17

    You are right, as long as a person has breath, there is hope! Your witness/ministry can be an example to her. When she witnesses the love of Christ shining through, she just may accept Him eventually. It is so important to correct people's idea/image of Him. It (His image) has been tarnished and abused by the history of Christianity!

    As for your question

    "Do these kind of people who switch over go to heavne if they once were Christians and meant the sinners prayer they prayed?"

    I will be answering that in my next post, so I have the convience of formatting and space! God bless you for you questions. Please do not hesitate if you have more :)

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  4. I so appreciate Hannah's gentle, researched, and prayerful replies.

    In the real world, we must realize that much of the time, we can't see enough detail to tell the black from the white, so it blurs and looks grey. Only God can deal with absolutes regarding human nature and only He can see behind the veneer to the color beneath.

    We therefore deal with, and judge based on, probabilities. This person probably knows the Lord, so I'm not going to spend time sharing the gospel; that person probably doesn't know the Lord, so I want to walk in a way that will convey my Savior's love for him and will earn me the privilege of sharing the gospel. Those are both judgments.

    The Muslim friend is blessed to have a loving friend like NYCi. The grandparents err. You don't ostracize somebody because they're in a burning building. Apparently, the grandparents do love their grandchild, but they don't know how to deal with what's happened. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, or perhaps they don't know the Lord. That doesn't make it right, but I hope that NYCi can help her to see it.

    As for whether the Muslim knows the Lord, I have uncomfortable news. Read John 10:4-5, 8, 14, 16, 27-29; 1 John 3:23-24, 4:3, 2 John 9. What do these say is probably true of her?

    We had an exchange before about whether someone who truly believes could become lost (and the answer was no, not even if they slide into sin -- although they can expect chastisement). This Muslim friend hasn't just fallen into sin -- she's fallen into following a false shepherd.

    Read the definition in 1 John 2:22-23. (Notice, little-'a' antichrists, not THE Big-'A' Antichrist) and then read verses 18-19. This concerns purpose: The friend left the Christian faith not just so we would know she'd been living as a false believer, but so that she would know it, too.

    I grew up with a counterfeit faith, so God had to bring me to the realization that I was not a Christian (I decided that I was an agnostic about the time I turned 18) before I could grasp the gospel. Similarly, departing from falsely following Christ may have been the best thing that's ever happened to her.

    This is a case where loving, righteous judgment serves the interest of the one judged, for her salvation depends upon our judgment.

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