Slaves Who Are Free

7.3.2011 – By Bob Mize

“Live as free men, yet without using your
freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as
Servants of God” (2 Peter 2:16)

A peerless paradox of the Christian faith is stated in this marvelous verse. True freedom is found in slavery to Jesus Christ. To “live as servants [slaves] of God” is the emancipation proclamation of the New Testament. Paul, as well as Peter, often glorified in Christ’s complete ownership of his life.

“Live as Free Men”
Freedom is the great motif of Christianity. The irony of the high price of Calvary is the free gift of salvation. Christ announced himself as the opener of prisons and He proclaimed the truth that makes men free. Moses, the liberator of old, was but the spiritual forerunner of the greater liberator and leader, Jesus Christ. Jesus leads men out of the bondage of sin, making the pilgrims “free indeed.”
The teachings of Jesus are open windows through which the hearer sees even more open windows, beckoning to larger and deeper truths. The miracles of Jesus are illustrations of His desire to give men life abundant and light eternal. Christ removes the walls that imprison men in cells of selfish solitary confinement. The Son of God loosens the shackles from maimed hands, breaks the stocks of crippled feet, and strengthens the feeble knees. He enables the dumb to express what is in them and gives them an added vocabulary of fellowship.
It is exhilarating to live as free men in Christ.

No Pretext for Evil
Men have always flirted with the extremes of every valid concept, possession, and endeavor. Profligacy, gluttony, and excess have been the children of the ensuing marriages. Since there is no “good” thing which is incapable of distortion, Christianity could not hope for exemption. The apostle Paul dealt with the problem of “cheap grace” in Romans 6: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” He could well address himself verbatim to the many today who use their “freedom as a pretext for evil.”
True freedom cannot be passion-guided license. Absence of discipline equals disaster. “Acceptance of discipline is the price of freedom. The pole vaulter is not free to go over the high bar except as he disciplines himself rigorously day after day. The freedom of the surgeon to use his drill to cut away the one structure close to a tiny nerve without severing it arises from a similar discipline. It is doubtful if excellence in any field comes in any other way” (Elton Trueblood).
Only “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
(via “20th Century Christian” Nov., 1974)

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