I recently read an interesting observation in regard to human conduct. “We have the liberal freedom of unrestrained personal behavior.” This is an intriguing statement for members of God’s Church to consider. Liberal freedom is usually applied to progressive political reform emphasizing individual rights and liberties. It is most commonly presented as the concept of liberal as opposed to conservative. It refers to an openness to change and tolerance for change, with the underlying assumption of freedom. Liberal freedom involves the ability to act or think without restraint.
This direction of human conduct is now accepted as a fact of life, particularly for Western societies. Unfortunately, this creates a difficult environment for anyone who wants to embrace God’s way of life. The human mind naturally gravitates toward liberal freedom. It is not only enmity against God, but is hostile to authority in general. Authority, whether God’s or man’s, interrupts the ability to act or think without restraint. It is only a further extension of the mind that refuses to submit to God’s law. “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God …” (Romans 13:1,2).
The subject of personal freedom is of importance to us because Christ warned us not to get caught up in it. When Christ gave an overview of end-time events, He included a warning that lawlessness would abound, causing the love of many to grow cold. We need to remember to whom He was addressing these comments. He had God’s people in mind as He talked privately with the disciples. The admonition concerning “he who endures to the end” in this environment is directly addressed to God’s people.
The irony is that as God’s people we have freedom. The Apostle Paul addressed this in some detail in his letter to the Church in Rome. The natural human minds are, “… slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness …” (Romans 6:19). Today it is just as Christ said it would be – with a magnified end-time application. But in Christ, we have been freed from sin. “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness …. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness”. (Romans 6:17,18,20) Through Christ’s sacrifice we are made free from the carnal mind. That is, we are free from enmity against God and His law. The barriers imposed by a carnal mind are removed and we are free to follow righteousness. “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life”. (Romans 6:22) We are free to follow a way of life that leads to eternal life.
If we don’t embrace that way of life with some degree of passion and commitment, then it is possible that the strong influences of the current world could cause our love of God and His way of life to become cool. The warning Christ gave in a general sense is given focus when He addressed the Church in Ephesus. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love”. (Revelation 2:4)
Unlike the world, which revels in liberal freedom, we have been given a priceless freedom to draw away from being slaves of sin. We are sons of God with the freedom to come to Him and “have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
These days should motivate us to exercise this true freedom.