Freedom, Law and Love
1 Corinthians 8:9,13 (NIV)
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
We call ourselves free people in this country. Freedom however does not mean anything goes. For example I have the freedom of speech guaranteed by the constitution. But I am not free to yell "Fire" in a crowded movie theatre just for mischief's sake. Of course, we would say that we are not free to break the law.
When a Christian says that he is no longer under the law but under grace, the immediate impression is that grace is less stringent than the law. Keeping the law never could save anyone but not because the law was somehow imperfect but because of people are imperfect. So the thinking goes then that grace must be lowering the chinning bar to accommodate people so grace must be easier than the law. In a sense that is very true. But grace brings with it an even higher standard than the law. That higher standard is the law of love.
It means that when I am free do something that the law formerly prohibited, I must be aware of how my freedom could influence others. The law of love says that may have to limit myself even on things that the former law allowed, to avoid becoming a stumbling block for another person. In this sense, the law of love is tougher. It feels better too though. I guess you could say, righteousness just feels right!
Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
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