“…and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor.3:17)
“STAND fast, therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)
All the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit of the Triune God. To be sure the doctrines of Christianity are not open to private interpretation. I repeat, The inspired doctrines of God’s Word are not open to any private interpretation(s). The reason for this is that all of Scripture are recorded by holy men of Old as the Holy Spirit led them.
Some of the great foundational doctrine of the Christian faith are the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus Christ, the Sonship of Christ, the eternal preexistence of the Word, the depravity of man, the absolute helplessness of man in terms of his salvation, the death of Jesus Christ in the stead of His people, the burial of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ in the stead of His people, the salvation of sinners based upon the finished work (that is the perfect life and the satisfaction of God’ s wrath based upon the death and resurrection of Christ.) Other doctrines include the terms of man’s salvation which are repentance of sin(s) and faith in Christ. These terms can only be met if the sinner is enabled by the Spirit of God. The sinner that is enabled by the Spirit will be forgiven, will be indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, and will walk in a newness of life that will reflect the life of Jesus Christ.
There are, of course, many other doctrines but the above lays out the foundational doctrines that the orthodox faiths cling to. I say orthodox because the vast majority of cults like Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness and others would find many of the above doctrine to be objectionable as would the Catholic church.
The other doctrine we make mention of in the above paragraph are essential to a fulfilling life in Christ. In other words, there are some doctrines that, being essential to joy, are not essential to eternal salvation.
These doctrines would include addressing our Saviour with His title of Lord. We have written, taught and preached on this extensively. If interested you may learn of this forgotten doctrine in past postings and we would encourage thee to do so. There, of course, the debated doctrine of baptism. Should the believer be submerges or sprinkled? Should the believer be baptized (3) three times forward or (3) three times backward? Another question that many act is in regards to the Lord’s Supper. Should the church celebrate it once a month or each Sunday? Should there be enough cups for all present of should all take from one cup?
The doctrines in the last paragraph, with the exception; in my opinion, of the first can be summed up under liberty, the great and forsaken (not forgotten) doctrine.
Liberty can be described in many ways. Liberty causes fear in the legalistic, especially the legalistic pastor. So much so that if one dares to preach on liberty the legalistic pastor will spend the next month(s) preaching against “loose living” or “worldiness” and rest assured that servant of the liberating God shall never preach in his “church” again. Be sure of my meaning, The boldfaced his refers to the legalistic pastor and the quotes around the word church denotes the sad fact that it is no church; at least not a church of God. Remember the text at the start? If there be no liberty then the Spirit of God is not Present and if He be Present liberty is known and experienced.
One can always spot a legalistic “church” for they are the ones that forbid their women to wear pants ( I chose the words their women because such they are). They forbid different versions on Scripture. The cinema is forbidden as is music; even some Christian music is outlawed. Haircuts must meet standards; this is true of the women, too. Men’s jewelry, with the exception of wedding bands, are frowned upon. Leather represents rebellion as do motorcycles. Facial hair is also frowned upon and yes, these types are familiar with Isaiah 50. We spent much time in legalism. Am thankful, however for all of it. Our first time visiting we wore long hair, an earring in the left ear. Our attendance was for the sole purpose of winning over the parents of a girl. The pastor did not throw us out nor did he act coldly. The opposite is true. The pastor was warm and welcoming. We learned years later that he was afraid of losing the girl I was dating so he decided to be kind to me in order to keep her. I do not say that to shame the man. He did the right and righteous thing. He and I became good friends. We are no longer in contact but we hope all the best of God to him and his family. The reason there was a split was due to the issue of legalism and liberty.
The above mentioned pastor made the mistake of inviting my wife and I to a “revival” meeting. He warned my wife to wear a skirt because this evangelist has been known to change his sermon from his topic to women in pants. Also, this evangelist is so holy that he doesn’t even have a T.V. We found the opposite to be true. To be sure; what had been said concerning this evangelist was true…once. But now this evangelist preaches liberty in Christ!!! Yes, my then pastor and friend had made a mistake by taking us there but God had not!!! For years we have sat under legalistic standards, man made laws, and man centered traditions as if they were holy doctrine. (this is the legalist’s formula or poison: man’s tradition become legalistic standard and legalistic standard becomes law and law become doctrine) And now we hear of liberty. This liberty states to the Christian, “The truth shall make you free…If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” We all are encouraged to stand fast in this [blessed] liberty wherewith Christ [Himself] hath made thee free [forever]. My world changed that night and so had my understanding of God. God was not and is not a God of lying in wait to punish His people. No! No! No! God is the God that loves to see His people free. Augustine sums it up this, “Love God and do as you please.” If one’s staring place or if one’s spring board is God’s love and one’s love to God all will be done well.
Though the legalistic preachers will tell you, “I believe in Christian liberty and I preach it!” Do not be deceived, beloved. It is true they do teach on liberty and what they teach for the most part is accurate they stop short of teaching all of the doctrine and this is to keep control.
The legalistic will teach on liberty and what they teach is true and is glorious. The doctrine of liberty to the legalistic is this: The believer is set free from the punishment of sin, the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and the pleasure of sin. All of this is true and we should praise God, through Christ, daily for this truth. Here, however, is their hook. While the freedom from sin’s penalty, punishment, power are truths based in the objective Word of God the pleasure of sin is subjective and inside of us. The legalistic pastor focuses in on that pleasure and exploits it. He will tell you the way to tame it is by “man made thou shalt nots.” This is not truth. Not only are you not overcoming this pleasure problem but now he has exposed you to an even greater threat. The threat of pride, self righteousness, and setting thyself up as a judge over others. We have been delivered from pleasuring in some sins yet there remain others. This remaining sin has been called the pet sin or in Hebrews it is called the sin that does so easily besets us. We may never be rid of this sin and if we are another will latch on. The reason for this is the old nature/man, the carnal nature, the flesh. Here is a question that may help. It is true we still find pleasure in sin(s); we would not commit them otherwise, right? If God, right now, were to offer you freedom from said sin(s) would you (A). gladly relinquish them or (B). would you wish to retain them a little longer? If you chose A you are on the right track. We may still find pleasure in sin BUT…BUT…BUT we have(!) been set free from the pleasuring in the pleasures of sin. God be Praised!!!
To be clear; none set out to become this type of minister. It simply happens over time and under the influence of others who have been brought under the influence of others over time. However, with legalism comes control, power, and dependency by others upon you. God is faithful and He will reveal this sin…these sins to the legalist and once it has been made clear one must decide. If one repents one will be forgiven and the penitent faces many challenges because he has created a church in his legalistic image. If one chooses to remain his legalistic self ; may God be merciful to him and those he has, is, and shall create in his own image and this is at God’s allowance.
The full extent of liberty includes freedom from fear, freedom from being controlled by one’s emotions, freedom in an active prayer-life, freedom in or during prayer, itself. Liberty is present during times of Bible study, during the preachers preaching, Liberty gives us the freedom to be who God has made us to be. Freedom to be bold. Freedom to do whatever we want within the bounds of God’s rules…God’s rules. Liberty grants us the freedom from the prejudices and judgments of others (1 Corinthians 2:15) O’ they will judge but it means less than nothing (lest their judgment is true).
Scripture says a wise man knows his ways. So by way of a loving and experiential warning…before one embarks upon the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free know thyself. In other words, while it may be acceptable and lawful to partake in social drink if one knows of family history or is aware of an addictive personality one should forgo the social drink. Attire was mentioned above. There is liberty in attire but to be sure God does command modesty and this modesty is for your own good and well being. Keep in mind; is this the past you want to look back upon from your future (DV)? If one is inclined to sexual predilections one might think about not attending a movie that has scenes that will inflame. A Bible verse that backs this up is Romans 13:14; But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
A Christian in prison has more liberty than does the lost man on Wall Street, in Washington, or in Hollywood.