Love is Liberty not Law

Posted on 9:26 PM by
Ephesians 2: 8 - 10 (ESV) - "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
For the past several years, the slogan on my facebook page has said one thing: "Love is Liberty not Law." Oddly enough, no one really asked me for any sort of explanation about this. I understand that it seems really warm and fuzzy, but I wanted to take a little time to dig into my thoughts behind this. First off, I want to be clear that I'm not sharing the message that some guys I met in seminary liked to rant about. They always went on and on about the fact that they were "Free in Christ," so they could do whatever they wanted. After all, Christ already died on the cross, so their sins were already forgiven. Any sin that happened in their life just made them a greater consumer of God's grace. So why should we be that concerned with trying to follow any kind of law or rules we see in Scripture? Shouldn't we just want to enjoy the grace of God?

These kind of ideas are a poor interpretation of Scripture. Paul deals with this issue in Romans 6: 1 - 2 (ESV) - "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" Paul is pretty clear that we don't sin just to experience God's grace abounding. His grace has already gone far beyond we could ever imagine in bringing us from death to life. We are already chief consumers of His grace. So, this is not the kind of liberty that just allows us to do whatever we want. It must be some other kind of freedom.

In Ephesians 2, Paul speaks about God's grace saving us through faith. It isn't because of anything that we do (Law), but we are given Liberty because of the Love that God has for us. The interesting thing about this Liberty from God's Love is that, according to Paul, it should lead us to Law. According to Paul here, we aren't saved by our works, but we are saved for our works. As God's workmanship, we are created to do good works that God has set for us to do. We are set free so that we can serve. God's love rescues us so that we can live in obedience to Him. That is freedom. Not that we are free to be who we want, but that we are free to be who we were created to be. We are free to live according to God's desire for us. Nothing else could bring us more joy. Love is Liberty not Law, but it leads to obedience.


Josh Via said...

Great word, dude. And happy birthday. miss ya.


debbie s. said...

Amen, Joel. How can someone who claims to be a saved person want to sin? I am so embarrassed by my sin because it ruins my testimony. How can we be an effective witness to others if they look at us and can say "What a mess they are?" I know that Christ's blood covers all of our sin and we are forgiven, but that still doesn't mean we should want to sin. That is not what the freedom, or liberty, is all about.

Adrian said...

yes and amen!

Anonymous said...

Your interpretation is flawed.

The Law of Liberty is a fundamental principle which respects the conscientious right of the the individual to be free to freely do good. This is freewill choice. Where wrong-doing is imputed as sin under law, you are in a spiritual prison because you will always do wrong because you are fallible and you are finite. That's why under law, ancient Israel was required to offer a sin-offering of blood which covered you until the Day of Atonement. But the sin-offering could not cleanse the conscience from its defilement. Christ's sin-offering not only covered you but cleansed your conscience from its defilement.

You have the idea that grace was about doing good. Grace was not about doing good. Grace was mercy because law condemned you for doing bad. Law created a need and grace was the remedy--it gifted the good that Christ did and was. Any doing of good was NOT about law, it was about grace opening the door to love, to love possibility in the face of law's impossibility. Where law fails love succeeds.

Law was NOT about acts that were good. On the contrary, law was about acts that were bad. Those acts are listed as prohibitions and if they are broken (the acts they prohibited were carried out) then the one responsible for the acts was counted as a transgressor of law and was duly punished. Punishment acted as a deterrence. But law was limited because it could cause the doing of bad acts to stop.

When we are free to love, then we are free to do good. Love does no harm. Love needs no law, because there are no acts of love that law can condemn. Problem solved. Brian