The idea of Christian liberty has become skewed in our post-modern culture. Our ideas of liberty make us think of “rights” and “freedoms” we have within a governmental systems. However, we cannot forfeit the true meaning of Christian liberty for the distorted, polluted view of today’s self-absorbed society.
I have recently picked up a book that reminded me what Christian liberty is all about. In 1520, Martin Luther published his pamphlet Christian Liberty (The Freedom of a Christian). This is the time of the reformation; a time where the rights of individuals were limited to your money and title; even more so was the religious structure. Luther reminds the people of the time, and still reminds us today what true Christian liberty encompasses.
True Christian liberty and freedom comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Works are nothing before there is faith. How does faith alone work in a system that tells us works must accompany faith for salvation? Often times the Bible is looked at as a book of rules and commandments. Yes, there are commandments all throughout scripture, but “the commandments show us what we ought to do, but do(es) not give us the power to do it.” However, when we find the promises of God, faith is ignited within the soul because it is not about our inevitable failures, but rather the faith in the promises of Christ to redeem us and make us new once more.
This is true Christian freedom; that our souls are no longer held down by laws, rules, or works but rather are set free by our faith in the power of Christ’s words. “If a touch of Christ healed, how much more will this tender spiritual touch, this absorbing of the Word, communicate to the soul all things that belong to the Word.”
Freedom in our faith through Christ always precedes actions and faith. Even as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, it was not the act that was deemed righteous, but rather his faith in the One who spoke to him. It was the trust and faith of Abraham that preceded any action.
We can never be fully free without first acknowledging our freedom is found through soulful surrender. Freedom stems from faith, and faith alone. Here is the key difference; Works are birthed from our faith, love, and obedience to Christ, not the other way around.
When we think of Christian freedom, let us not limit our thoughts to that of an external world or government system. True freedom rests in the one who created the soul. The only way to set the soul free is to believe that Christian freedom is the inner workings of Christ in our lives. Christian freedom reminds us that the “only thing necessary for Christian life…is the gospel of Christ.”