Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Christian and His Liberty: Christian Liberty and Charity (Part III)

Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” (Romans 14:16-18)

Liberty is not intended to give others a bad impression, especially the lost. What good is a man's liberty to eat certain foods if doing so causes hurt to others and thereby repulses the observer? Nothing in a Christian's life should cause moral offense to others. Even though false accusations will always be around, no man should be able to find a legitimate indictment against God's child; therefore, if the exercising of liberty is causing an offense, it ought to be set aside. An example of this may be seen when Paul had Timothy circumcised so as not to be an offense to the Jews to whom they were trying to minister (Acts 16:1-3). Paul did not encourage Timothy to do this because he thought it necessary for salvation, nor was he trying to please false teachers; he was simply encouraging Timothy not to be a needless offense to the people they were trying to win.

The root issue is not physical food and drink; it is the righteousness, peace, and joy that the Holy Spirit brings to the life of the believer. When the kingdom of God comes, the question of liberty will be irrelevant. In that day, the only thing that will matter is how a Christian has conducted himself toward his fellowman.

The Christian who is willing to set aside his liberty in order to pursue peace and the edification of others is truly serving Christ, and men will see his spirit of charity and accept him as genuine; but the man who holds to his so-called liberty at the expense of offending the weak and causing division is a carnal fool.

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