"Privilege and Responsibility"
July 5, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the Law. Romans 3:28
Liberty, freedom, civil rights, and other issues can be compared to a two-wheeled cart. The two wheels are privilege and responsibility. Both are necessary.
It is the same with Christian freedom. First, what a privilege it is! Saint Paul writes: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Christians in the New Testament have been set free from ceremonial laws demanding circumcision, the observance of Sabbath rules, and the distinction between foods. What is more, they are free from the curse and penalty of the moral law. For Jesus observed it perfectly for them and in their stead endured the punishment for their disobedience. By faith in this Savior we are at peace with God, reconciled, set free from the vain effort of meriting God’s grace by our good works. Good works are to be done, not in order to be saved but because we are saved.
With the wonderful privilege of being set free by Christ goes responsibility. Christian freedom can be abused, and this often happens because we forget about the second wheel: responsibility. Christian freedom entails not only a privilege but also the responsibility to act in Christian love in all situations of life, as Saint Peter declares, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil” (1 Peter 2:16).
Saint Paul cites an instance of how Christians will at times suspend their freedom because they want to act in love toward those who are weak in faith. He says that no distinction needs to be made as to food. Christians have freedom. But they will gladly refrain from exercising this right if it offends another, that is, causes him to sin. He writes: “Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died” (Romans 14:15).
As we stand firm in the privilege of Christian freedom, so we are mindful of its responsibility. Then our freedom is like a two-wheeled cart.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God for the privilege of Christian freedom. Guide me to use this freedom responsibly. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)