Liberty or License?
Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command."1
A Daily Encounter reader writes: "I know lovely people who go to church and say they want and embrace an intimate relationship with Jesus—and are living with their lovers outside of marriage. A girl who used to work where I worked said that she loves Jesus and wants a close relationship with Him. She goes to church every Sunday and is living with her boyfriend. We can't judge."
Can we really say we love the Lord but don't obey Him? As Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command." The reality is it's what we do, not what we say, that counts.
As God’s Word, the Bible, says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."2 And again, "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body."3
True, as Christians we have freedom and don't want to slip back into legalism—that is, doing the "right" thing outwardly but not from the heart. At the same time, our freedom or liberty in Christ is not a license to do as we please. As the Bible also says, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."4 If we continue to sin, we actually lose our freedom because we become a slave to, rather than a master of, sin.
Our reader also says that we can't judge. Actually, while we are not to judge others, we are to judge actions. Again, God's Word says, "But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one."5
Pastors and teachers are also instructed to rebuke and correct people who are sinning. Admittedly, there is a fine line between judging people and their actions, but if Christians would read the Bible, know what it teaches, and were sincere about obeying the Lord, their actions would judge themselves.
Sadly, too, what so many people fail to realize is that God's instructions are for our good, not to take away the joy of living. Living in harmony with God's will gives us true liberty but it doesn't give us a license to do as we please. Also, when we sin, we not only hurt ourselves but very often others we are close to as well.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to love You sincerely from the heart. Help me to overcome my bent for sinning so that I will always want to live in harmony with Your will and live to please You and not myself. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. John 14:15 (NIV).
2. Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)
3. 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV).
4. Romans 6:15 (KJV).
5. 1 Corinthians 2:15 (NKJV).