True Christian Liberty

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The true liberty that Christ gives to us through the gospel is not political. It is spiritual freedom. It is freedom from fear of God's judgment and wrath.

Satan hates the Gospel more than anything else, Satan is unwavering in his attacks on the words with which Jesus has set us free. If we think we're safe because we don't really believe in that kind of old-timey superstitious stuff, we're dead wrong. That belief is a satanic lie. Or maybe we think we're safe because we're Christians. That's careless thinking.

Satan fights relentlessly against grace, freedom, confidence, and life. He uses every weapon at his disposal to rip and tear us away from Christ. As soon as he sees the gospel and freedom take over a Christian's life, he charges into battle, stirring up every kind of trouble and temptation that the world can throw at us. That's why the apostle Paul warns us not to sleep or grow careless (Gal 5:1). Instead, we must resist Satan and not allow him to strip us of the gospel or our freedom.

"Stand firm," Paul writes. "Do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Stand strong in the gospel, and in Christian freedom. Not in the freedoms granted by the state, or a group, or from self-discipline. The only freedom that is true liberty is the freedom we enjoy in Christ through the power of the gospel.

The gospel of Jesus Christ sets us free from sin, death, and the power of Satan. This same liberty grants us immunities, privileges, and prerogatives not given to anyone outside the church. We are set free to love God and neighbor. We are liberated from vain self-satisfaction to serve others honorably and charitably.

The gospel does not set us free to indulge in worldly pleasures. We are not set free from sin so that we can chase after our every daydream and desire. This is the kind of freedom Satan and this evil world want us to embrace and enjoy. True liberty which only comes from the gospel surpasses the kind of worldly freedom (which is no freedom at all, but bondage) that enslaves people who don't know Christ and the gospel.

Worldly freedom believes it's free to do whatever makes one feel good and helps avoid pain and suffering. The kind of liberty this world offers is imprisoned within laws that are not God-pleasing, compliance with doctrines that are not Christian, and obedience to authority that is subject to Satan, the ruler of this world.

The true liberty that Christ gives to us through the gospel is not political. It is spiritual freedom. It is freedom from fear of God's judgment and wrath. In Christ, we are at liberty to enjoy life with our heavenly Father both here in time and there in eternity. Through the Gospel, God is our loving Father, full of grace and mercy toward us. So now, we are defended, nourished, and rescued from every evil by our loving Father on account of Christ. Even when we are sickened unto death by sin, God will raise us from death because that's how free we are, free even from the power of death.

Sin, death, and Satan cannot destroy our Christian freedom. This evil world that is ruled by Satan cannot ruin this freedom. Christ has set us free from the law, sin, death, the power of Satan, hell, and every evil. And although we will be accused by the law, and threatened by death, and attacked by Satan, God gives us a weapon to fight back against them all. He gives us his word.

When we are attacked, and the gospel and our Christian freedom are threatened, we can say (to paraphrase the words of Martin Luther in his Galatians lectures), "The gospel and freedom belong to me, because Christ has freed and delivered me from my enemies. Death, the most powerful and fearful enemy in all the world, has been defeated and cast out from my conscience by the freedom with which Christ has set me free in the power of his resurrection. Leave me alone sin. Run far away death. You are not in control of the battlespace, Satan. Jesus has won the war. You are all defeated. I am liberated."

In the power of the gospel, we are liberated from the law, sin, death, and Satan. In their place, our heavenly Father gives us righteousness, peace, and eternal life.