on two more messages on legalism and liberty

We are nearing the end of the series. The first message this Sunday was ‘What is Christian Liberty?‘ Our text was Gal 5.13. I discussed the nature of Christian liberty as a spiritual possession of the believer, granted at conversion, breaking the bondage to sin and the sin nature and thus providing the freedom to actually perform works that please God. Taking our admonition from Gal 5.13, we looked at the notion of the misuse of liberty as an occasion to the flesh, indulging self because of our new freedom. Such an attitude is contrary to Christianity. It is certainly contrary to the message of the apostles. From misuse, we turned to the productive use of Christian liberty – by love serving one another. The impact of living a life as a slave to righteousness is far greater than the impact of the life lived as a slave to sin. Sin binds in ever increasing entanglements. Righteousness frees unto limitless glory in the eternal life of perfect fellowship with God. I closed with a quote from Alexander Maclaren:

“Liberty is not exemption from commandment, but harmony with commandment. Whoever finds that what is his duty is his delight is enfranchised. We are at liberty when we walk within the limits of the gospel; and they who delight to do the law are free in obedience; free from the tyranny of their own lust, passions, and inclinations; free from domination of men and opinion and common customs and personal habits.”

Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, James 1:25, quoted by George M. Cowan, “The Prohibitions of Grace”, Bibliotheca Sacra (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1946; 2002). 103:232.

Our afternoon service continued the series with a message entitled “Disciples of the King“, from Mt 28.18-20. The imperative in this passage is ‘make disciples’. The process of making disciples involves three activities: going, baptizing [which I take as the culmination of evangelism, i.e., soul-winning], and teaching. The activities are given in chronological order (you must go first) and also in priority: merely going is not enough. Tourists are on the go. Disciple-makers go and work. The ultimate end of the commission, however, is not baptism, it is teaching to observe [obey] the commandments of Christ. This is the Christian mission. The notion that Christianity is bereft of commandments is an anti-Christian notion. But even more importantly, the commission is given by The King: ‘All authority in heaven and earth is given unto me.’ (v. 18). The Christian mission is to make disciples for The King. Two points closed the message:

  1. This King is perfect
  2. This King’s subjects love to serve Him


I hope these thoughts are a blessing. I hope to conclude this series in one or two more messages.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3