Hovering over Romans 14 this morning. Funny thing, this Christian freedom we have. While we are free as to the law, yet we are bound by consequence. Nothing is unclean in and of itself, and yet everything can be unclean if a person sees it that way (v.14). One has freedom to partake, and honor the Lord as he does, another to abstain, and honor the Lord as he doesn’t (v. 6). Free in Christ, yet not free to live for ourselves (v. 7-8). Free in Christ, but not free to stumble a brother (v.21). Free from religious requirement, yet required one day to give an account before the bema seat of God for all that we’ve done (v. 10-12).
While, if the Son makes us free, we are free indeed (Jn. 8:36), it’s not the freedom to do as we please . . . even if “as we please” is permissible.
So, while Christian freedom might sound pretty appealing, it can also be a bit confusing. While we might think we can romp about as we desire, we actually need to carefully watch our step.
How then, do we know what we’re free to do and not so free to do?
Well, in addition to running everything through the filter of “as unto the Lord,” and weighing everything as to its potential to knowingly stumble a brother, what I’m chewing on this morning is the “fully convinced” filter.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5 ESV)
Christian freedom, it seems to me, is intentional freedom. Freedom that is thought through, biblically weighed, and conscientiously exercised. Freedom born not out of a lack of boundaries but founded on a premeditated conviction.
We need to be able to recognize when we are in the grey zone. When what we think we’re free to do others might think otherwise. And in those areas spend enough time aligning our desired actions with our core beliefs. Paul says that we should exercise our freedom within the context of our faith, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (14:23). So we need to pass it through the fully convinced filter.
Ours is to be thoughtful. Ours is to be intentional with every freedom we exercise. Ours is to be fully persuaded. Fully persuaded within ourselves. Fully persuaded before our God.
The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
(Romans 14:22 ESV)
We have been given the Word of God. We have been given the mind of Christ. We have been given the Spirit who leads us into truth and convicts of sin. Ours then, is to intentionally engage them as we weigh our actions in light of our liberty and in light of His kingdom.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 14:17 ESV)
Let freedom reign. Let us be fully convinced.
By His grace. For His glory.