In 1979 I commenced my theological studies at Central Baptist Seminary, located those days on Jonesville Crescent in Scarborough. In my new position at Heritage, I’m reconnecting with some alumni from those days. None of us are any older, or are we?? Wow! How does time march so quickly?
One of the first courses I took during the first academic year was Introductory Homiletics. Rev. Les Tarr, whose example, writing and legacy have impacted me to this day, was the prof for this course. We had to preach a 10 minute sermon as our first attempt of learning new skills in understanding, interpreting and proclaiming God’s word. I chose Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” True freedom is found in Christ and “the one whom the Son (of God) sets free is FREE INDEED!”
Peter echoes this same theme in I Peter 2:16. It’s no surprise that Biblical writers reaffirm the same truths to different audiences. After all, there is only ONE true faith, ONE Holy Spirit, ONE Saviour. Peter urges the Christ followers of his day, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.”
In Canada, we are used to the “Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms” as a reference point in law for those who are blessed to be citizens. I feel the ‘charter’ has often been misused, but that’s a discussion for another day. For Christians, the Bible provides us with a ‘charter’ of Responsibilities & Freedoms.
We are invited to live as free men – just as the citizens of the Roman empire enjoyed privileges denied to others. Jesus Christ has purchased our freedom and now in that freedom we are called to live. Liberty is a great privilege, and takes some ‘getting used to.’ A recently released ‘prisoner’ in Canada declared his challenge of ‘adjusting’ to new freedoms.
Freedom should not be misused. For Christians, it should not be a freedom to do ‘whatever I want,’ as a ‘cover-up’ for evil. Those who misuse freedom will soon end up in bondage. Some of those who ‘assert’ their freedoms in lifestyle choices provide evidence of the ‘chained bondage’ in which they blindly live.
We must live ‘as servants of God.’ He is our Master. We live under His marching orders and give daily evidence that we have been ‘conquered.’ After all, what are we saying when we declare by our lives and our lips that “Jesus Christ is Lord?”