I believe in absolute freedom in Christ, but freedom with responsibility, as I feel Paul clearly teaches. I was just thinking about sin and mulling it over from the POV of having that freedom in Christ (which I really must blog about more later). A lot of people wonder at that freedom, and really they cannot believe it…but it’s true.
So, if it is true, and it is, then why should we contain ourselves when we are faced with a choice of whether or not to sin? I’m not talking about those times when we really and truly slip and sin without thinking; I’m referring to the times when we are sitting there going, “Ok, wow, yeah, I really have a choice here. If I do thus and so, that’s not going to be good for me, nor, apparently, my relationship with God…but I know that we have freedom and forgiveness.”
We have freedom, so what is the consideration here beyond “don’t sin willfully,” which I admit is a very big deal in and of itself, but not part of my musing right now. I have been musing that it has a lot to do with familial responsibility. Most people, esp. unbelievers would read that and think I was referring to blood family, but I’m not. All of my brothers and sisters in Christ are included in the idea of “familial responsibility.”
There are innumerable sins that are not only going to affect you. And there are many sins that must include another human being for them to be carried out…the ever popular fornication springs to mind. So, in reality when we are contemplating certain sin, the question isn’t just about us, or our freedom, but also the question of how you’d treat family…would you really do something that would seriously harm your “real” family, your blood relation? Oftentimes we’ll do things that would harm ourselves, but never do those same things to our loved ones.
I think that Paul’s teachings back up this musing as one of the ways we should help to contain ourselves and keep yielding to righteousness; think about our family first…so much so that we are not ever to judge. That’s right; we shouldn’t judge another believer’s salvation in any respect, but what does Paul watch out for?
Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
And I think that is my very point…if we find ourselves struggling with something, it should help us to keep others in mind, not just ourselves. If all of us brothers and sisters in Christ would watch out for one another by watching out for ourselves, we may be able to control ourselves a bit better (all with the help of the Spirit of course).