Liberty’s Limit

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1 Corinthians 8:9 “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”

There are those who believe that liberty gives the believer the right to do anything they want to do, but the Scriptures make it clear that there are limits to liberty. I live in the United States of America, and we are a free nation; however, my liberties do not give me the right to do what I want to do. There are laws within liberty that help keep me free from those things that would take my liberty. There are laws within liberty to keep me from infringing on another’s liberty. For instance, my liberty does not give me the right to drive as fast as I want. I can certainly drive as fast as I want, but the police officer will pull me over and give me a ticket because my speed is endangering the liberties of others. Likewise, though we have liberty in Christ, our liberty has a limit to what the believer can do. This does not mean that I lose my salvation, but it does mean that when I abuse my liberty in Christ, I will have to suffer sin's consequences. Let me point out a few observations about liberty’s limit.

First, liberty does not give me a license to sin. You can't do anything you want just because you are saved. Sin was wrong before you got saved, and it is still wrong after you get saved. Sin brought bondage before you got saved, and it still brings bondage to the one who lives in sin after they get saved. Liberty is not your license to do whatever you want.

Second, liberty does not remove consequences. There are still laws that God has set up for the believer to live by within liberty, and there are consequences when those laws are broken. Salvation does not mean that sin’s consequences are negated; it means that all sin has been paid for, but it does not remove sin’s effects.

Third, with liberty comes responsibility. As easy as it was for you to get your liberty in Christ, there is a responsibility not to abuse it. Your liberty in Christ means that you represent Christ. Why would you live like those who have yet to experience that liberty? You have a responsibility to those who are not saved to live like you are free in Christ, and that freedom is living the Christian life.

Fourth, liberty has laws to keep order in liberty. Liberty does not give you the right to infringe on another’s liberty. When you live whatever way you want and your living becomes a stumblingblock to those who are weak, you have abused your liberty. God still has an order for how He expects the believer to live by, and you create confusion and chaos when you don't live how God’s Word commands the believer to live. The freedom of liberty means I must live according to how God wants me to live so that order is kept and freedom is enjoyed.

Fifth, there are borders to liberty. Outside the borders of liberty is bondage. God has rules and limitations by which He commands the believer to live, and you will experience the bondage of sin when you break those rules and limitations. My friend, you are free as long as you live within those rules and limitations that God has set up in His Word, but the moment you step outside of those rules and limitations, you will find that sin still has a horrible bite that leaves you in its grip of bondage. No, you will never lose your salvation, but you will find that sin creates grief, bondage, and heartache that will be hard to overcome if you don't stay within the borders of liberty.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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