“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”
– 1 Peter 2:16 [ESV]
Of all the words, phrases, and expressions taken out of context in this generation, I believe the word “Freedom” must be at the very top. Sadly, it’s a significant detriment to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. The World and the world system misuse the terms grace, love, peace, and goodness and have gone to great lengths to redefine the same for selfish purposes. Though the Church of God must contend with such abuse of terminology, sadly, those within Christendom have misused the word “Freedom.”
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, for often, those within the house can do the most damage to the home. If you recall, Hophni and Phineas were inside the temple that was abusing their authority, calling forth God’s judgment against them and their father, Eli. After that incredible display of God’s strength at the Red Sea, Aaron, from within the nation, led the Israelites into error. God told Joshua that wherever his foot trod, that land would be his for an inheritance. As long as he didn’t turn out of the way, no army could stand against them. No entrance could bar Israel’s way into the Promised Land if they followed God’s statutes, and yet, Achan from within the camp brought disaster to their conquest. Finally, it wasn’t the outside nations that ruined Jerusalem, but the wicked kings of Israel, with their idolatrous practices and unrepentant hearts, led them into captivity. We’re well acquainted with the enemies without, but are we aware of the enemies within?
You may be asking, “So what? Why is this an issue?” Because, child of God, more or less, all of these failures can be attributed to someone feeling they had the freedom or permission to do what they did; or, as they said in Jeremiah’s day, “we are delivered to do these things.” Freedom rightly applied under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and instruction of the Scriptures is beautiful. How delightful to be free from guilt and condemnation of past sins, to be at peace with God through the mediation of Christ, and to be filled with joy in service to the God of our salvation? It’s a position that can attract the vilest criminal and rudest offender of the faith, for having been set free from sin and shame, we can enjoy living the life of a Christian. However, freedom misappropriated leads to an abuse of grace and eventually to error. How so? You might be wondering. The Apostle Peter admonishes and later warns us to “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” Freedom, or liberty, can be so utilized as a license for sin that it warranted men of God to denounce it outright. Due to the rebellion that lies at the foundation of our sinful nature, this entity wages war against our spirit to lead us to live a self-pleasing life; should anyone try to correct us, we try to cover it up under the veil of liberty. Even Jude prophesied that men would “turn the grace of God into lasciviousness,” or immorality. And sadly, we’re living in a day where under the redefined cloak of grace, actions, lifestyles, and sin are excusable by so-called believers.
Oh, child of God, who’s in your camp? What beguiling have you given your ear to? Have you noticed a slight shift in your expression of Christianity? Under this deceit, are we now making excuses for things we once derided as sins or at least a weight? This deception causes us to reclaim the things once renounced as secular to now be suitable under the banner of liberty. This attitude is a grievous error. Even more tragic is that those who are beginning this new life will be confused and may become prey to the pitfall of the enemy. God’s way is still best, and instead of a false cloak of liberty, we’re admonished in Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” [ESV]