Liberty and Law

Written by Frank Jamerson.

This country was established by men in search of liberty. While we are thankful for our liberty, we must remember that there can be no liberty without law. Where there is no law, or where it is not respected, anarchy exists. The founders of our country recognized this principle. Just as there can be no social liberty without law, there can be no spiritual liberty without law.

In order to obtain freedom from sin, we must obey God’s law. Paul said, “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you   became   slaves  of   righteousness” 

(Rom. 6:17,18). Jesus stated the same principle when He said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). Peter said, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:22,23). If we must obey a form of doctrine, are made free through the truth and purify our souls by obedience to the truth, there is a  law, or standard, we must meet to be free from sin.

We are free from the Old Law (Rom. 7:4) and from the principle of law (perfect obedience) for justification, but that does not mean that we have no law. Paul said that he conducted himself “as without law” when dealing with the Gentiles, but he was “under law toward Christ” (1 Cor.   9:21).

Freedom in Christ does not mean freedom from all law. We enjoy freedom from human laws, but not from God’s law. The “situation ethics” that Joseph Fletcher advocated said that there is no law but love. That confuses the standard with the motivation. Love is not a standard, but a motivation. Certainly we should obey out of love, but love is not the law. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word...He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (Jn. 14:23,24).

Spiritual liberty is attained and maintained by conforming to Christ’s law.

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