by Mike Ratliff
Much of the conflict we are seeing in our time between those who are seeking a return to Biblical values in the Church and those seeking “relevance” in every aspect has resulted in a standoff over “freedom.” Those who seek to remain Biblical understand what genuine freedom is while those seeking alternative forms of church are demanding freedom that is anything but. Martin Luther addressed this in his day as well.
by Martin Luther
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:35-36 KJV)
“There are two kinds of freedom. The first is a false freedom of false disciples. These people want freedom from satisfying their desires. They become Christians for that reason, just as the people in this passage became followers of Christ because they heard his followers were devout, good, patient, and gentle people, not thirsting for revenge. His followers freely gave to the poor and were generous. They also heard that his followers worshiped a merciful God, not an angry one. When they heard all of this, they liked the idea that believers would give to them and serve them. So they said, “I will gladly have others give to me, serve me, and forgive me. The Lord God will also forgive my sins and help me get to heaven.” They were glad to be on the receiving end of all this.
However, people like this are scoundrels and don’t want to leave their lives of sin and idolatry or give anything to anyone. They want to live lives of sexual immorality and self-gratification as they did before coming to Christ. Yet they still want to be considered Christians. These are false disciples who only want freedom for their physical desires. They praise the gospel and at first follow it earnestly. Soon after, they do what they want, following their evil lusts and desires. They become worse and more indecent than before. They are smugger, wilder, and greedier. They even steal more than others do.
The second type of freedom is the true freedom of genuine disciples. Those who stick to God’s Word and endure, suffer, and tolerate what they must are the ones who will be set free. They will become stronger as time goes on.”
As believers mature more and more there should also be a growing understanding of what real freedom is and that the freedom that our old nature lusts after only leads to bondage to the flesh. Believers should never be in the crowd that demands tolerance for what the Bible clearly calls sin, such as homosexuality, adultery, excessive alcohol consumption, dissipation (partying), lying, and stealing. They should be fervent about God’s glory as opposed to self-promotion, self-elevation, and self-gratification.
What should our response be to the ever-rising voice of protest from the apostate that we should tolerate sexual preference in the Church? We must do as the Bible says. If person does not claim to be a Christian then we do all we can to show them the way to light of God. That includes homosexuals. However, if a person claims to be a Christian, but refuses to reject their former sinful lifestyles then we shun them. We do not include them in our fellowship until and unless they repent.