Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam; we will come to you no more’? Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. (Jeremiah 2:31-32)
There is so much freedom found in the Lord and the love of Christ. Because of His blood shed on the cross, we are saved from our sin and the penalty of death. Because of His guidance and presence in our lives, we are never forced to face this life alone. We are showered with blessings, friends, family, and reasons for joy.
But at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves one very important question: how are we using this freedom?
In his letter to the church of Corinth, Paul addresses this freedom that is given to believers.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say— but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”— but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others… So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24,31)
I hear a lot of people say that because they are saved, they can do whatever they want. Yes… and no. It is true that believers have forgiveness of their sins and God’s grace is unending for those who repent. However, if true repentance means turning from our sins, how valid is our repentance if we continue to turn back? This is not to discredit the faith of those who are in bondage to sin. Rather, I’m referring to those who knowingly turn their back on Jesus and His teachings to pursue their own interests.
I think maybe the thing that hasn’t clicked in the minds of those people who continue chasing after things of this world is the concept of the freedom we truly have. This seems to be nonsensical because such people often use the idea of their unlimited freedom to argue for their sin, hence they appear to have a full awareness of this freedom.
But do they really? Because if they fully knew and understood this freedom given to them, why would they even want to live in sin any longer?
I believe that what Paul was really trying to say to the church in Corinth is “Yes, you do have the right to do anything you want. We are saved under the new covenant of Christ. But there is so much more to it than that. We are so free that we’re not even subject to this world. We don’t belong to this world. Our sole purpose here on earth is to glorify God- whether we’re eating or drinking or talking to friends or watching TV or reading a book. The point is that anything of this world holds us back- that’s why it’s not beneficial. We have a whole eternity of perfection and fellowship with Christ to look forward to. We’re so free from this world, surely we must act differently.”
My challenge for you is to rethink how you are using your freedom. Are you taking advantage of it to pursue your own selfish desires or are you using it to pursue the kingdom to which we are called?
I chose to begin this post with those two verses from Jeremiah to emphasize also who this freedom is for. Yes, it is for us, but it also serves to give us a relationship with God in which we can adorn ourselves with His grace and glorify His name.
Like the Israelites, we can argue that because of our freedom, there’s no reason to live solely for God. However, it actually is the opposite. Because of our freedom, we have EVERY reason to live solely for God.
And this freedom is a marvelous and beautiful thing.