The Bible promises both life and liberty in the Lord Jesus Christ. Many people are told about these but in a perverted way. Hence, they have a perverted concept. They are told that life is given upon the basis of faith alone and it can never be revoked, no matter the actions of the individual. Likewise, liberty in the Lord is explained as freedom from the law of God and the judgment of fellowmen. Let us examine true life and liberty in the Lord.
Life in the Lord is basically fellowship with Him. When a person is living in sin, he is “dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph. 2:1). Death is a separation (cp. Lk. 15:32). When the body and spirit are separated, physical death occurs (Jas. 2:26). When one lives in sin, thereby separating himself from God, he is dead spiritually (1 Tim. 5:6; cp. Isa. 59:1-2). Therefore, when a person enters into fellowship with the Lord, he is alive (Eph. 2:1). This life in the Lord comes through humble submission to the Lord’s will. The Holy Spirit revealed that this life, a new life, is entered when one rises from the waters of baptism. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). However, we understand baptism alone does not translate a man into life in the Lord. Rather, one must hear the word of God, believe it, confess Jesus as the Christ, and repent before being baptized into a new life in the Lord (Rom. 10:9-13, 17; Acts 2:38; 3:19).
One of the things inherent in life in the Lord is liberty. As a man is cleansed by the blood of Christ in baptism, he is also redeemed, purchased, from sin and slavery to the devil (1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:1920; Rom. 6:16-17). Paul pointed out that not only is there liberty from the bondage of Satan, but also from the bondage of the law of Moses (Gal. 5:1-4; cp. 4:21-31). Many have been erroneously told that liberty in the Lord means liberty from law, any law. The idea is promoted that one need not be concerned with the keeping of commandments, but simply be sincere and have a good attitude — not the letter, but the spirit — we are under grace, not law! There is a fundamental flaw in this theory — liberty cannot be had without law! Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). The truth that brings freedom is the law, the “perfect law of liberty” (Jas. 1:25). The conditions upon which liberty is realized is the law of Christ, His New Testament (cf. 1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:1). Like the law of the United States grants and protects the liberty of its citizens, the law of Christ grants and protects the liberty of the citizens of heaven (cp. Phil. 3:20). What about the grace and love of God? These do not exist independently from His Word. The grace and love of God are shown in Christ and His law. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
Life and liberty are realized in Christ, but not apart from the conditions He has set forth. These conditions are found in the gospel, His law. And, inasmuch as there are conditions, when one fails to adhere to them, he loses the privileges that come with–life and liberty. Let us so live as to ever enjoy life and liberty in the Lord.
Steven F. Deaton