For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Have you ever been called out by a non-believer? I have and let me tell you, there is no interaction I can think of that is more uncomfortable. There you are on the highway taking you non-believing friend to church and suddenly someone cuts you off. Your blood instantly reaches the boiling point, you yell at the person in front of you; even though they can’t hear you and ride the horn. And then you sense you’re being watched. You look at you friend and see their face awash with judgment. While shaking their head in that slow disapproving way they say in the most sickening sweet voice they can muster, “Love thy enemies.”
As believers we are going to make mistakes; it is human nature. By nature we are sinful beings and as such we are continually tempted by our flesh. Flesh used in this context means human desires. When we as believers give in to lust, greed, pride, or in the above example, anger we are giving in to the desires of the flesh and not living in God’s will for our lives.
among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
When we live in the flesh, in sin, we are no different then a non-believer. And yet, as believers, we are different. We are different because we know the truth.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God was there when man fell (See Genesis 3) at that moment we were separated from God and it was for eternity, except that our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally with a deeper love than our human minds can conceive. He told satin how it was going to play out:
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, believers, though we don’t deserve it, have freedom from our sin. We are covered and washed by the blood of Christ. While that is amazing to the point of blowing ones mind; use caution. The covering of Christ is not a blank check to live in the flesh Monday through Saturday and show up on Sunday for absolution.
This is a core complaint of the non-believer: the hypocrisy of the church. They will point out every failure that they see and say, “don’t judge me man. Take a look in the mirror.” As painful as it is at times to admit they are often correct. We are not living what we preach. I believe that this simple truth, is the biggest hinderance to the gospel today. When a non-believer, someone who might be on the fence, struggling with eternal truth views their Christian friend does the life of the Christian live up to the words and call to repentance that spring forth from their mouth?
Is that too close to home? I know it is. There might even be some who would say I’m not being fair. After all, no one is perfect that is the reason we need Jesus. Followers of Jesus understand the freedom we have been afforded by His sacrifice. The point is, don’t abuse the privilege. Think of it this way: if you were caught stealing and when you went before the judge; although the evidence against you was overwhelming, He found in your favor; you were exonerated. Would you go out and steal again? Maybe, but hopefully you would have learned. God wants us to use our liberty, our freedom from condemnation to serve others, not as a blank check to do what we want in our flesh.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Are you a reflection of the spirit of God to this hurting broken world? We are called to be like Jesus, which is to serve and not be served. If this message has struck a nerve settle it with God. Then turn your face toward the Lord, keep your eyes on Him and see what is in store.
Grace & Peace,