Freedom and Rules
In my last post I wrote about Freedom and Slavery. You can read it by clicking HERE. While writing about the wonderful, life giving freedom we have been birthed in to I considered two things which are also very important to grasp within this new lifestyle. I feel deeply that Jesus wants his people to be whole. To grow up and walk away from the paralysing influence of bondage to legalism! To experience a complete release from shame. And, let me add quickly, He has made this completely possible for his people.
Free so that we might do His Will
The first key fact in walking with God is that we soon realise that we are not free to do our own thing. Paul, the apostle reminds us that we are not to ‘indulge our flesh’ but rather “serve one another humbly in love.” The law of obligation causes us to focus upon ourselves. How I am doing. How I am living. Our cultural system is based upon humanism. Everything within this world-system calls us to put ‘ourselves first’. But, Jesus offers us the opportunity to break with the ‘yoke of bondage’ and to take upon ourselves ‘His yoke’ – “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus tells us. True freedom is demonstrated only as we do ‘His will’ and much of this results in pouring out our lives for his sake!
If we see God’s free gift of grace as a ‘loan’ that we need to ‘pay back’ we have lost our freedom and are living under law. Jesus’ exchange with the religious leaders highlights the reality of what it is to know the truth. The truth shall set you free.
We are Subject to Rules
This statement may seem like a contradiction to what I have shared about freedom. How can we be free and yet subject to rules? This was the second issue that I came across while writing about our freedom in Christ. In a game of rugby we watch 30 players go on to the pitch and play rugby with freedom and much enjoyment. However, if they break the ‘rules’ the referee will blow the whistle and penalise the player. Just like a game of rugby where there are rules to protect the players and encourage the flow of the game so the ‘game of life’ has rules. Our ‘inward umpire’ is the Holy Spirit. “Let the peace of God act as umpire in your heart.” Col 3:15 (Wuest) When we are in danger and step over the mark the Holy Spirit ‘blows the whistle’. We lose our peace.
But, these ‘rules’ are for our benefit. They are for our safety. They protect and keep us in harmony with God and people. These rules are linked to our experiencing the maximum freedom of life within the Spirit of God. These ‘rules’ are linked to our knowing God.
These Boundaries are for our Benefit
Under the Old Covenant God gave to Moses ‘The Ten Commandments’ – these instructions are seen by many to be antiquated and have only been set in place by an out of touch god who simply wants to spoil our fun. However, as God’s people we see them differently.
The first two commandments are rules governing our relationship with God.
These rules or commands are there for our benefit and our welfare. Look and consider how Paul Brand sees the first two as affirmations rather than regulations.
- Have no other gods before me.
“I love you so much that I will give you myself. I am true reality, the only God you will ever need. In me alone will you find wholeness.”
- Don’t worship idols.
“I desire a wonderful thing: a direct, personal relationship between myself and each of you. You don’t need inferior representations of me, such as dead wooden idols. You can have me. Value that.”
It is wonderfully clear that God’s gift of freedom to you and I as believers is unique. It is to be embraced. His freedom captivates us to follow him with unswerving devotion and love.
“But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” – James 1:25 (TMSG)