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|Personal Responsibility||August 26|
LIBERTY OR LICENSE
How sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? John 8:33.
Ours is a religion of love but not of laxity. Our freest moment comes when sin has been brought vigorously to account and overcome. License is often confused with liberty. Men around the world have a passion to destroy in the name of freedom. License is rude, reeking with the violation of other people's rights, disdaining others, refusing others their own dignity arid value in the sight of God. Liberty is dignified, hallowed, sacred, uplifting, transforming. Christ offers us the only true freedom, freedom from self and sin.
Christ always took people as they were—in prison, in slums, in bondage to sin. To all He gave the invitation, "Come, and I will make you clean. Come and I will give you freedom from all that degrades." Freedom is of God's making, whereby we are recreated for purity and holiness; for love, not hate; for obedience, not disobedience.
To us it seems so obvious that Christ makes us free. The experience of liberty stands in proportion to our acceptance of and obedience to the truth.
Men were freed from slavery, in black ink on white paper, when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Act. But not until Christ and His truth are brought into the life are men really free. If we extend freedom to mean license at any point, we are in danger of opening the door to a whole swarm of sins. We depart from the truth that makes its free. Freedom is not the unrestricted right of doing as we please regardless of the welfare of other people. Freedom is never the right to exploit others for our own advantage and pleasure. Such so-called freedom, rather than developing a righteous character, degrades it.
God never enslaves us by our obedience to the truth. Out of the midst of transgression and perversity in our world, it is impossible for the natural man to talk of real freedom. One must be a Christian to do that. Freedom in Christ outshines all the wars for freedom ever fought in our world. His purifying and transforming presence brings us to the liberty of sons and daughters of God.
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