Saturday, October 5, 2013

Freedom Is Good

Freedom is good. But so are rules -- and the two are not mutually exclusive. There is nothing wrong with an institution having rules, be it a nation, a school, a church, or a family. Every Christian parent knows this. Rules actually increase freedom in a family. Yes, they put boundaries on that freedom, and often they infringe on freedoms that children wish they had --- but the existence of rules does not indicate the absence of freedom. And it is certainly not equivalent to legalism.

It has been brought to my attention that one of the large evangelical schools in our country has withdrawn its ban on alcohol. This is being heralded, even among some who call themselves conservative, as an advancement in freedom. In a sense, I suppose it is. Many of the things said on this head are quite true. Alcohol is not intrinsically evil. The Lord Jesus drank it, and some Christians may drink it. But is this advance in freedom actually an advance in the spirit of Christianity?

Freedom goes both ways. One man may say he is free to drink. Another may say he is free NOT to drink --- and free to make rules for those under his authority. When schools who bear the name of Christ lose the freedom to take stands that are unpopular with the world, I find it hard to see it as a good thing -- even if they have some doctrinal truth on their side.  The freedom that the Bible tells us about frees us from legalism -- which is trying to be saved by following rules --, but it is much more than that.

In Christ I have sweet liberty.
From condemnation I am free,
From fear of death, and from its sting,
From minding every fleshly thing,
From fear of man, and pride of life,
From worldly sorrow, lust, and strife.

I’m free from worry, free from care,
Free from the yoke that none could bear,
From ordinances that would bind,
And bondage of a worldly kind;
Free from the fruit that sinning buys,
The ways of death, and Satan’s lies.

By faith in Jesus Christ I’m free
To serve the law of liberty.
I’m free to fear my God above,
And serve my fellow saints by love,
Deny myself without restraint,
Deferring to a weaker saint.

I’m free to practice holiness,
And yield myself to righteousness.
I’m free to walk in peace and joy,
And all the Spirit’s gifts employ,
To walk in works that God ordained,
And life that Christ by death obtained.

I’m free the Bible to obey,
To follow what the Scriptures say,
The promises of God believe,
And all his blessings to receive,
To trust my Saviour knows what’s best,
And in his presence to find rest.

~Nita Brainard 2007

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