"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage…. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law…. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:1, 18, 25).
I. Free Gifts in Christ
This "liberty" makes us free to heaven's charter-the Bible. Here is a choice passage, believer, "When thou passest through the rivers, I will be with thee" (Isa. 43:2). You are free to that. Here is another: "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee" (Isa. 54:10); you are free to that.
You are a welcome guest at the table of the promises. Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please, without fee or hindrance. Come in faith and you are welcome to all covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld. In the depths of tribulations let this freedom comfort you; amidst waves of distress let it cheer you; when sorrows surround you let it be your solace. This is your Father's love-token; you are free to it at all times.
You are also free to the throne of grace. It is the believer's privilege to have access at all times to His heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our difficulties, our wants, we are at liberty to spread all before Him. It matters not how much we may have sinned, we may ask and expect pardon. It signifies nothing how poor we are, we may plead His promise that He will provide all things needful. We have permission to approach His throne at all times-in midnight's darkest hour, or in noontide's most burning heat. Exercise your right, O believer, and live up to your privilege.
You are free to all that is treasured up in Christ-wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It matters not what your need is, for there is fullness of supply in Christ, and it is there for you. O what a "freedom" is yours! Freedom from condemnation, freedom to the promises, freedom to the throne of grace, and at last freedom to enter heaven!
II. What of the Law?
He who looks at his own character and position from a legal point of view, will not only despair when he comes to the end of his reckoning, but if he be a wise man he will despair at the beginning; for if we are to be judged on the footing of God's Law, there shall no flesh living be justified. How blessed to know that we dwell in the domains of grace and not of law!
When thinking of my state before God the question is not, "Am I perfect in myself before the law?" but, "Am I perfect in Christ Jesus?" That is a very different matter. We need not enquire, "Am I without sin naturally?" but, "Have I been washed in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness?" It is not "Am I in myself well pleasing to God?" but it is "Am I accepted in the Beloved?"
The Christian views this evidences from the top of Sinai, and grows alarmed concerning his salvation; it were better far if he read his title by the light of Calvary. "Why," says he, "my faith has unbelief in it, it is not able to save me." Suppose he had considered the object of his faith instead of his faith, then he would have said, "There is no failure in Him, and therefore I am safe." He sighs over his hope: "Ah! My hope is marred and dimmed by an anxious carefulness about present things; how can I be accepted?" Had he regarded the ground of his hope, he would have seen that the promise of God stands sure, and that whatever our doubts may be, the oath and promise never fail.
Ah! Believer, it is safer always for you to be led of the Spirit into Gospel liberty than to wear legal fetters. Judge yourself at what Christ is rather than at what you are. Satan will try to mar your peace by reminding you of your sinfulness and imperfections: you can only meet his accusations by faithfully adhering to the Gospel and refusing to wear the yoke of bondage.
III. How we Live in Liberty
The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. He who shall rightly understand these is not far from being a master in experimental theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ. Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other!
There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said, they were "whitewashed sepulchres."
We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure. Of what service is the mere foundation of a building to a man in the day of tempest? Can he hide himself therein? He wants a house to cover him, as well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we would have comfort in the day of doubt. But seek not a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter, because it has no foundation on a rock.
Let faith and life be put together, and, like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety enduring. Like light and heat streaming from the same sun, they are alike full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. O Lord, give us this day life within, and it will reveal itself without to Your glory.
Selections from Morning and Evening
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), "the Prince of Preachers," was a renowned pastor and author who served as pastor of London's Metropolitan Tabernacle for 38 years. His works are still widely read today.
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