“For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.” — 1 Peter 2:16
One of the most amazing aspects of our relationship with Christ is the freedom he has given us through the gospel. We are free from condemnation, free from the judgment we deserve for our sins, free from having to say yes to the desires of the flesh. We are free to enter the presence of our heavenly Father at any time and talk with him. We are free to live and love in a supernatural way.
There is truly no end to the freedom we have in Christ. Sadly, however, we are prone to being fooled by our freedom. We have a tendency to think that our freedom means we can get away with sin.
Sometimes I think the way many of us view our freedom in Christ can be summed up in the statement: It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. In other words, rather than pursuing a dynamic relationship with Christ that motivates and enables us to live a life that pleases him, we do what we want, then ask him to forgive us after the fact.
But true freedom — the freedom Christ has given us — leads to excellence. Jesus did not set us free so that we could live by a lower standard or so we could be lazy or mediocre. On the contrary, he set us free so we could be what he calls us to be: reflections of him in our fallen world.
Victor Frankl profoundly captures the balance between freedom and excellence in his book Man’s Search for Meaning: “Freedom is only part of the story and half the truth…That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”
The freedom that comes through Christ ties us in relationship and responsibility to God. Being bound to God in freedom, we live in the shadow of his excellence. This cord of freedom obligates us to such a reflective radiance that His glory will and must be seen in us. We are free; not to please ourselves but to please the One who set us free!