Stand Firm In Christian Freedom, Part 1
Stand Firm in Christian Freedom!
Text: Galatians 5:1
A. The Context of Christian Freedom
B. The Battle for Christian Freedom
“A significant part of the Mosaic Law was the promise of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (see Deuteronomy 28, especially verses 1-2 and 15). Some Christians live as if that principle applies to them today. But Paul said that ‘the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Christ has already borne the curses for our disobedience and earned for us the blessings of obedience. As a result we are now to look to Christ alone—not Christ plus our performance—for God’s blessings in our lives. We are saved by grace and we are to live by grace alone. When we pray to God for His blessing, He does not examine our performance to see if we are worthy. Rather, He looks to see if we are trusting in the merit of His Son as our only hope for securing His blessing” (Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace, writes pp. 18-19).
“…the Christian who is consecrated by his faith does good works, but the works do not make him holier or more Christian, for that is the work of faith alone. And if a man were not first a believer and a Christian, all his works would amount to nothing and would be truly wicked and damnable sins” (Martin Luther, Christian Liberty, pp. 23-24).
C. The Importance of Christian Freedom
D. The Indicative and Imperative of Christian Freedom
“ignorance of this distinction between Law and Gospel is one of the principle sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity” (Theodore Beza, The Christian Faith, p. 41).
“The fact is, the Law was never given to justify us (for if this were so, Jesus Christ would have died in vain, as St. Paul says; Gal 2:21; 3:18-21), but, on the contrary, to condemn us, and to show the hell which is opened wide to swallow us, to annihilate and totally abase our pride, in making the multitude of our sins pass before our eyes and showing us the wrath of God which is revealed from Heaven against us (Rom 1:18; 4:15; Gal 3:10,12)” (Theodore Beza, The Christian Faith, p. 44).
“What is the doctrine of the church? The doctrine of the church is the entire and uncorrupted doctrine of the law and gospel…” (Zacharias Ursinus, Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, p. 1).
“Therefore, as we ourselves, when we have been engrafted in Christ, are righteous in God’s sight because because our iniquities are covered by Christ’s sinlessness, so our works are righteous and are thus regarded because whatever fault is otherwise in them is buried in Christ’s purity, and is not charged to our account. Accordingly, we can deservedly say that by faith alone not only we ourselves but our works as well as are justified” (John Calvin, Institutes, 3.17.10).
“We don’t have to feel guilt-ridden and insecure in our relationship with God. We don’t have to wonder if He likes us. We can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization that I am accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ” (Jerry Bridges, The Gospel For Real Life, pp. 16-17).
© John Fonville
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