How Can You Experience True Freedom?

We live in a post-modern society. Post-modernism casts off any and all meta-narratives as power plays by authoritarian systems. In an attempt to escape oppression and experience freedom, meta-narrative are traded for individual narratives that allow one to construct their own truth. In this way there is no absolute truth, just that truth you derive from yourself and your own experiences. We see this transition in phraseology such as “You be you”; “Be your authentic self”; etc. These ideas are why we are currently experiencing so much transition in every area of life.

The Promise of Different Gospels

Different gospels that promise salvation have been preached for centuries. Post-modernism is another gospel in a long list of gospels hoping to cast off the restrictions of a Judeo-Christian worldview to provide freedom without submission.

But does a disregard for the Christian meta-narrative provide true freedom? Does creating our own individual narratives divorced from any overarching narrative, especially a Judeo-Christian narrative, provide an escape from bondage?

The Galatians were not confronted with Post-modernism, but they were confronted with a worldly gospel. Paul, the author of the letter to the Galatians, addresses their fall away from the biblical gospel when he writes in Galatians 4:8-9

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” (Gal. 4:8-9)

Different Gospels Don’t Provide Freedom

The elementary principles of the world represent those ideas that are fundamental. They serve as the building blocks for a particular system of beliefs. Everyone operates according to closely held building block beliefs. They are those beliefs that drive our worldview and the actions that follow.

Worldly religions and philosophies, those things we build our life on a part from the biblical worldview, do not provide us with freedom. Instead, they enslave us. They entrap us in a cycle of performance, worry, and anxiety. We are left to wonder if we have done enough in order to experience that religion’s or philosophy’s form of salvation. In the case of our modern movement, we might wonder if we gone far enough in divorcing ourselves from a Judeo-Christian worldview. In other words, are we properly secular? Are we championing secular causes well enough?

Cancel Culture as an Example of Bondage

It is here that cancel culture enters the picture. All those who are not in the main are seen as being on the wrong side of history. They are not able to represent modern day culture. They shouldn’t be applauded or championed. Instead, they should be punished for their lack of adherence to the current cultural movement, which results in them being “cancelled”.

Those who believe themselves to be on the right side of history today feel liberation, they feel as if they have been saved from oppressive structures. But “today” is not “always”. Tomorrow always comes. Tomorrow brings change in one’s ideas and thoughts. In modern day vernacular, we might say people “evolve” over time.

Tomorrow, and the evolution it brings, is why cancel culture exists. Cancel culture doesn’t care what side of history you were on in the past. It only cares about what side you are on today, which is why many past cultural champions find themselves forced to change or be cancelled.

The irony is that cancel culture requires truth and an overarching narrative to work. The very thing Post-modernism denies it uses. The truth claims made by those of cancel culture are seen as dominate and ones that should be embraced by all people. If one doesn’t embrace the current cultural meta-narrative truth claim, they are oppressed. In an attempt to create freedom from bondage, Post-modern thought has actually created bondage and oppression. There can be no dissenting voices only those who agree or cancel culture comes for you.

True Freedom Does Exist

There is no freedom in the elementary principles of the world. There is only slavery. You can, however, experience freedom in Christ. He has come to set you free.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1)

How can you experience freedom? Jesus has come, He has died, paying the penalty you deserve. He took your sentence of eternal death for you. He sat in the cell of hell, He experienced God’s wrath in your place. Jesus has done your time. You have been pardoned. He has also freed you from the need for self-salvation, releasing you from the bondage of performance culture.

The good news is that His provision is open to all who would humble themselves and submit to Him as Lord and Savior. If you want freedom, don’t turn to the elementary principles of the world. Instead, turn to Jesus! Allow Him to be your King, your Savior, your all in all. Allow Him to guide and direct your life.

Freedom Occurs when we operate according to God’s Wisdom

The book of Judges ends with the statement: 

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

The same refrain occurs multiple times throughout the book. Judges is meant to highlight how people operate when there is no one to provide direction. In short, when we operate according to our own wisdom, we not only sin against God, but we sin against others as well.

The book of Judges shows us in vivid detail that the positive talk about our ability to manage / govern self is untrue. When we cast off leadership and operate according to our own wisdom, societal breakdown occurs. The liberty we seek does not happen. The only way we are able to live free product lives that result in wealth, safety, and human flourishing is to agree to and live under a collective rule of law enforced by a non-corrupt government. 

We know, not only from God’s Word, but also from human history, that the greatest amount of flourishing occurs when a societies laws and government most closely resemble God’s wisdom put forth in His Word. When we deviate from God’s Word and His wisdom, we push against the fabric of God’s good design for this world. The resulting rebellion is not freedom but bondage. It is not human flourishing but destruction. 

We know this to be true from our own experience. Most of you reading this post use power tools according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. When you do, your home projects are done safely and with relative ease. The opposite is true when you use a tool in the way in which it has not been designed. You might get away with it a time or two, but sooner or later you are going to get hurt.

Freedom occurs when we operate according to God’s wisdom. Destruction results when we operate according to our own wisdom. Don’t reject God’s wisdom for your own. We know what happens. We know the ending. Turn to the Lord, His Word, His wisdom, and experience the flourishing you desperately desire.

Love for neighbor creates unity in the community and we should seek unity.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13)

In Christ we have been set free from the demands of the law. Not that we set the law aside in that we shouldn’t follow God’s Word. No, we must and we should follow God’s Word. A disciple is someone who follows a master. Jesus is our master. We are His disciples. We should follow Him. But we are free from the law’s bondage over us. It is no longer our tutor, teaching, training, restraining and pointing. It has accomplished it’s goal in that it has pointed us to Christ.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. He embodied it perfectly, never breaking a single command. As a result, He is able to be our perfect sacrifice, fulfilling the law on our behalf so as to make those who believe in Him through faith righteous.

Having experienced the freedom Christ provides, we should not use your freedom to satisfy the desires of our flesh. In fact, the opposite is true. Having been set free from the bondage of sin, we should use our freedom to follow Jesus in living according to God’s Word.

Not that it is a bad idea, but we don’t need to memorize all the commands in God’s Word in order to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. The whole law, as we are told in verse 14, can be summed in their phrases, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). Paul is playing off Jesus’ answer in the gospels to a question regarding what is the greatest commandment. Jesus answered it is to love God and the second greatest was to love your neighbor (Matt 22:36-40). I believe both ideas are implied here, but the specific focus of the passage in on community, which is why the second greatest commandment is quoted.

It is wrong to say that you love God, while at the same time hating your brother. If you love God, you will love your brother. You will not use your freedom to bite and devour them. Instead, you will use your freedom to show love and care for them. If we seek to devour another instead of living in unity with them, we will be devoured ourselves. So as others attempt to take a bite out of us, we should press into love.

Love for neighbor creates unity in the community and we should seek unity. It is what the law, although imperfectly, was seeking and what we are capable of now that we are freed from the bondage of sin in Christ. We are capable of loving and living in unity with our fellow brothers and sisters. We must press into unity in our community by loving others as we would love ourselves.

To Indulge or Not?

Indulge, Roses, Chocolate

Should we deny our natural desires? Should we not indulge in everything and anything? After all “food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”, isn’t it? (1 Cor. 6:13a)

The Corinthian Hedonists

The Corinthians sure thought they could and should indulge in everything and anything, whether that be sex, drugs, food, or the like. They believed if you want to have sex with someone, you shouldn’t hold yourself back because after all your body was made for sex and sex for your body. If you want to go out and have a good time, why not use some drugs because your body was made for drugs and drugs for your body. If you want to indulge in food, then indulge because after all your body was made for food and food for your body.

Many in our day believe the same as the Corinthians. We refer to them as Hedonists. Hedonism is defined as

The ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.

The Bible’s Answer

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, takes their slogan “food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” and turns it on its head when he says,

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” (1 Cor. 6:13b)

In other words, we weren’t created to indulge in whatever pleasures we want, we were instead created to glorify God in our bodies.

Why We Shouldn’t Indulge

Knowing we would quickly disregard Paul’s idea as an antiquated and uptight position moderns have moved past, Paul gives a couple of reasons why we shouldn’t indulge in every pleasure that comes our way.

(1) Our bodies are members of Christ

As members of Christ we must be careful what we participate in because we actually connect Christ to it. Paul says,

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” (1 Cor. 6:15)

It is a scary thought to think, especially when we think of what we have done, that Christ goes with us where we go. He participates in what we participate. He is connected to what we are connected. For that reason, we must be careful what we indulge in.

(2) Our bodies are the Temple of God

Paul reminds us of this idea by saying,

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” (1 Cor. 6:19a)

In the same way that the Temple in Jerusalem housed the Spirit of God, our bodies now house the Spirit of God. Just like the Temple was honored, our bodies should be honored. Just like immoral acts were forbidden to take place in the Temple, immoral acts should be forbidden to take place in our body. Just like the Temple was used to glorify God, our bodies should be used to glorify God.

(3) Our bodies were bought with a price

Look at what Paul says in the rest of verse 19 and on into 20,

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19b-20)

In these verses Paul is hitting on the idea of redemption. Redemption is a marketplace term. In the marketplace slaves were bought and sold. When a slave was purchased, his ownership changed hands, and his former master was no longer his master.

That is the same thing that takes place in salvation. We are redeemed from sin, satan, and death. It is no longer our master. Instead God is our master, which tells us Christians aren’t redeemed to live how they want. Instead we are redeemed so we can live how God wants.

So instead of indulging in anything and everything, we should indulge in God. We should find our pleasure in Him and Him alone. He is the only One who will ultimately satisfy and fulfill our longings.

Question for Reflection

  1. What do you think, should we indulge in whatever we desire? Why or why not?


Post adapted from my sermon: What is Christian Freedom? You can listen by clicking here.


Judge Not is Not a Shield to Hide Behind

It is not uncommon to hear people say:

Aren’t we all sinners? What gives you the right to make moral judgments about someone else? Isn’t that God’s job?” “Do not judge, or you to will be judged.”

A Real Life Example

I posted an article one time on Facebook that questioned homosexuality. One comment I received said, “Aren’t you a Christian? I thought Christians were not supposed to judge others.” After which, my friend, or used to be friend, de-friended me.

Some people who make these claims know where this verse is found, and other do not, but both groups are using this verse out of context. Incase you did not know, the verse is found in Matthew 7:1.

Why is this verse commonly used, or might I say, misused?

People desire to shield their sin. They want to keep others at bay. They desire to have “unrestrained moral freedom, autonomy, and independence” [1]. In short, they don’t want anyone to question their behavior, thoughts, or ideals.

What Does This Verse Really Mean?

Even though people use this verse to dissuade others from judging their behavior, the verse actually does not mean we cannot ever judge another person. Let’s look at this verse in context, and you will see what I mean.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

After reading this verse in context, it should be apparent that what Jesus is addressing here is not all judgment, but hypocrisy. He was after the Pharisees who judged others without first dealing with their own sin.

In these verses, we see first, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees by telling them to “Judge not.” Then, He tells them “the measuring stick they used to measure the lives of others will be the same measuring stick held up against their lives by God Himself” [2]. After which, we are told that the Pharisees sin is greater than the sin of those they were judging. They had a log in their eye, which is by far greater than a speck.

The key to these set of verses comes in verse 5 when Jesus tells them to remove the log in their eye first before dealing with the speck in their brother’s eye.

Essentially, Jesus is giving them two commandments:

  1. Stop judging others in a hypocritical fashion.
  2. Get the sin out of your own life [3].

So then, Jesus is not telling us that we cannot judge others. Rather, He is telling us that we are not to be hypocritical. We are not to judge others, when there are massive sins in our lives that we are not willing to deal with.

It is like a father chastising his daughter for her suggestive and scandalous dress, then after she leaves, he looks at pornography. His actions are hypocritical. He is not dealing with his own sin before dealing with the sin of his daughter.

Can We Judge?

The answer is yes. In fact, it is our duty to judge others, so that they will grow in their Christian life. We are to spur one another on to growth and godliness, and we are to keep each other accountable. Hebrews 10:24-25 says,

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

In order to stir one another up and hold them accountable, we have to look into people’s lives and make judgments about how they are living.

However, if we are not humbly submitting our own lives to the Word of God for review, and if we are not willing to allow others to help us in that task, then we are not to judge others. If we are examining our own lives, and we are dealing with our own sins, living a life of genuine repentance, then we can judge others.

So then, we can judge others, but not before we deal with the sin in our own lives.

The Proper Way to Judge

When we judge others, we must do it in a loving way. We are not judging them in order to make ourselves look better. We don’t come at them from a morally superior position. No, we approach them in love, humbly recognizing we are all sinners, we have all fallen short of God’s glory, and we all need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. If we approach people from that position, then we have a right, neigh a duty, to speak into their lives, so that we may wage war on the flesh together.


Jesus did not say these words, in order to keep us from ever making any moral judgments about others. Nor is He giving us this verse so we can shield our own sin from review. Rather, He is attacking the Pharisees, who were hypocrites because they did not deal with the massive amount of sin in their lives (log) before passing judgment on others, whose sin was not as great (speck). So then, when we look at this verse in context, we see that we can judge others, as long as we are first judging ourselves, and as long as we are approaching them in a loving manner.


[1] Eric Bargerhuff, The Most Misused Verses in the Bible, 26.
[2] Ibid., 27.
[3] Ibid.


Who is Responsible for Religious Liberty In America?

Just recently in my Baptist Heritage class, I learned an interesting fact regarding who was responsible for religious liberty in America. Specifically, who was responsible for the establishment of the Bill of Rights and a separation of church and state. Here is what one author has to say:

In tracing the emergence of religious liberty in America, Joseph Dawson concluded, “If the researchers of the world were to be asked who was most responsible for the American guarantee for religious liberty, their prompt reply would be ‘James Madison.'” However, Dawson continued, “If James Madison might answer, he would as quickly reply, ‘John Leland and the Baptists.'” If that sounds too partisan, overlooking the role of other denominations, it does focus upon Baptists’ great contribution in winning religious liberty in America. Baptists provided many of the ideas undergirding religious liberty, and they spearheaded the public agitation which led to the Bill of Rights [1].

Without my Baptist Heritage class, I would have never known that Baptists were intimately tied to the fight for the Bill of Rights. I am grateful for their work as well as the sacrifice and persecution those men faced in working toward Religious Liberty in America.


[1] Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage, 283.