The end or purpose of Christian liberty is not to smoke or drink; liberty is given for the pursuit of holiness. Those who wave the banner of Christian liberty so that they might do whatever they might want to do have not understood the doctrine at all.
To Learn Holiness
Christian liberty is given so that we might learn to be holy.
“That he would grant not us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life” (Lk. 1:74-75)
To be a Slave to Righteousness
Paul teaches in Romans 6:18-23 that freedom from sin necessarily entails slavery to righteousness (v. 18). If we are not serving God as slaves, bearing fruit to holiness (v. 22), then this means we do not comprehend the point of Christian liberty.
There are really only two alternatives – if we are not growing in grace and true personal holiness then anything we do is an act of slavery – not liberty. Rather we are slaves to sin, and it does not matter if as “slaves to sin” we smoke a cigar or not, or drink beer or not. In other words, we must never think that a class of “behaviors” opens to anyone apart from personal holiness. There is no middle territory between the two.
Christian liberty is nothing other than slavery to God.
To Do All We Do Before the Lord in Holiness
[Which is why] [t]he point is not to drink or smoke or dance according to our own whims, in the light of our own wisdom, but to do whatever we do before the Lord, with the increase of joy and holiness obvious to all.
Question for Reflection
- Do you abuse what many refer to as Christian liberty, or do you see it as an opportunity to be a slave to God and a way to grow in holiness?
Douglas Wilson, Future Men, 77; 80