Christian Freedom

Its Nature

We teach that Jesus Christ has purchased freedom for believers (Acts 13:38-39; Galatians 5:1). Jesus referred to this freedom at various points in His teaching (Luke 4:18; John 8:32-36). The nature of this freedom consists in believers being set free from certain things to pursue new things. Those things from which believers have been set free include the guilt and penalty of sin (Romans 6:23; 8:1; Colossians 2:13-14), bondage to sin (John 8:34; Romans 6:1-13), bondage to Satan (Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13), the sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57), the wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9) and the curse of the law of God (Galatians 3:13). Those things believers have been freed to pursue include an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, having been enabled in at least two key ways. First, being reconciled to God through our faith in Jesus Christ we have been enabled to enjoy free access to Him (Romans 5:1-2). In addition, we have been granted ability to yield all obedience to Him; to voluntarily love, serve and obey Him with a child-like love and a willing mind, not out of a slavish fear (Romans 6:11-13; 8:14-15).

Its Scope

We teach that this freedom which Christ has purchased for believers has the following implications:

(a)    We teach that our justification before God is based on God’s grace and mercy alone through faith in Christ and is not based on our keeping of the Law (Romans 3:24-31; Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5-8). Although believers are still obligated to keep the law of God, it forms no part of the basis for their justification.

(b)   We teach that all true believers have become the Lord’s bondslaves. As His servants, we will do what He commands and be separate from (avoid or abstain) what He forbids. Our lives will be given over to Him in complete obedience (John 14:21; Romans 6:16-23; 1 John 2:3-6).

(c)    We teach that the Word of God (the Holy Bible) alone is to be our guide and standard for knowing what the Lord commands and what He forbids. The Word of God will be our only rule of faith and practice (Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).

(d)   We teach that human rules, traditions and standards, which are either apart from or contrary to the Word of God, shall not be used as our standard of obedience or spirituality (Matthew 15:1-9; Colossians 2:20-23).

(e)    We teach that with respect to those things or activities about which the Word of God neither commands nor forbids, believers have the freedom to use and enjoy them judiciously and moderately in accordance with the design for which our Creator God has given them (1 Timothy 4:4-5; James 1:17). Our use of these things is to be further regulated by the following Biblical guidelines:

(i)     We will use them only when our conscience and faith permit us, for it is neither right nor good to act against conscience (Acts 24:16; Romans 14:5, 22-23).

(ii)   We will use them in love, and only after considering whether they will encourage our brother or sister to sin against his conscience (Romans 14:6, 14, 20, 22–23; 1 Corinthians 8:7, 10). We will not knowingly use those things that would cause our brother or sister to stumble in this way (Matthew 18:6-10; Romans 14:13, 21; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

(iii)  We will use them only after carefully examining this particular thing or activity in the light of God’s Word and after searching our own hearts. We want to make sure we are not using our liberty as an occasion to indulge sinfully our flesh (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16).

(f)    We teach that God has established and granted power to human authorities for the purpose of maintaining order and providing protection to individuals within a society. Those believers who, in the name of Christian freedom, either disobey or do not submit to these human authorities go against God. Only when those human authorities command what God forbids or forbid what God commands can Christians lawfully go against such authorities. God has authority over all (Psalm 103:19; Daniel 3:16-18; Acts 4:19-20; 5:28-29; Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; 6:1-9; Hebrews 13:17).

We teach that where different convictions exist with those things or activities in which Christians have liberty, we are not to judge one another wrongfully. Rather, we are to accept one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, constantly upholding one another in prayer, while acknowledging there will be differences of conviction in many areas the Word of God does not specifically address. In these areas it is best to challenge everyone to lead holy lives, judging ourselves while always leaving the judgment of others in the hands of God (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 14:1-12).