From the outside (looking in):
What kind of freedom is this? All I see are people who do not have fun. They say that they are no longer about rules, but all I see is so many people abstaining from the good things in life. Sure–they don’t do some terrible things like getting into drugs or cheating on their wives, but there are other areas where they just go too far. Why is it that so-called “Christian freedom” just translates into rules you follow because you “love God” or something?
To the outsiders Christian freedom can sound like new branding on Old Testament law. However, when Jesus came, He did not diminish the (non-ceremonial) law–he expanded it. In the days of Moses, one was not allowed to murder. Jesus expanded it to the heart and made the sin of murder equivalent with the sin of disdain of a brother.
So what is this freedom that is brought through obedience?
God conveyed in the Bible that people who do not have the Spirit of God residing in them are enslaved to sin and that they have no other path to take than that of sin. They do not know any better. This brings us to the first aspect of God’s freedom. He lets us know that a certain act is wrong. Why would we not partake in an act if we didn’t know it was wrong? As you can see, the first step to freedom that God gives us is wisdom.
The second aspect of God’s freedom is that He empowers us to defeat our desire to sin. He promises:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (emphasis added)
So did God bring us the freedom to lie, cheat, drink, and steal? No–all of these things are not freedom! These actions will enslave us in our spirit and will sooner or later affect our relationships with God and others. So many people are living in turmoil based upon past decisions and they may not even know why.
The effects of sin are not always apparent! Families have brought curses upon themselves for sin (and these curses can stay for generations if not combated in the name of Jesus).
People outside the body of Christ will not understand the freedom Christ gives us from the foolishness of the world–it will look like following rules to them.
“Don’t run in the street,” Jesus says, “this will lead to your death.” We are like Jesus’ blind children who can think of no good reason to not run in the street.
We can’t see the cars.
We don’t trust Jesus for the freedom to run in the street. We trust Jesus for the freedom to not become spiritual roadkill.