Christian Liberty

ImageGalatians 5:13 “For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty as an occasion to the flesh.”

   The very moment a person trusts Christ as their Savior, many wonderful changes take place.  Their sins are now cleansed by the blood of Jesus, they receive eternal life, they are born into the family of God, and the list could go on and on.  One of the greatest blessings that we enjoy from the moment of salvation is the liberty that is ours in Christ Jesus.  That word liberty simply means, freedom.  We who were in bondage to sin are now set free.

However, what God has given as a blessing, Satan will try to us as a hindrance.  For example, God blesses a man with a job and then that man is tempted to think more of that job than he does the God who provided it.  God blesses us with liberty from sin, but Satan tries to deceive us into believing that we have liberty to sin.

Now before we deal with this verse let me make two points very clear as it pertains to living Godly lives.

1. We do not do what we do as believers so that God will love us.  God already loves us with a perfect love.  Nothing that we can do will cause God to love us any more or less than He already does.  God’s love for us is not performance based.

2. We do not feel that we are spiritual simply because we live a life of outward separation.  Separation from ungodliness is imperative for the Christian as we will see in a moment, but separation alone does not mean that we are spiritual.  We can have outward forms of separation and yet inwardly be full of pride, selfishness, anger, and other hidden sins.  We must first be right inwardly and then we will manifest outward conformity that enables us to please God with joy and not compare ourselves among ourselves.

There is a conflict when it comes to the matter of Christian liberty.  It is a conflict that has always existed to a certain degree, but that seems to be increasing in our generation.  There are two opposing viewpoints on this matter of Christian liberty so therefore one must be right and one must be wrong.  How do we know which one is right and which one is wrong?  We turn to the Word of God and the answer becomes clear.

Here are the two viewpoints being taught today:

1. As a Christian, you have freedom in Christ.  You are under grace.  Therefore, you can basically do whatever you want to do.  You can go wherever you want.  You can listen to whatever you want.  You can wear whatever you want.  You are free and if anyone tells you that certain things have no place in the life of a believer then they are just trying to put you into bondage.  They are legalistic and they are frustrating the grace of God.  So says this teaching and as you might imagine it is quite popular.  It is also dead wrong!

To say that because I have freedom in Christ, I can basically do whatever I want, is to say that freedom in Christ is freedom to sin.  Now those who promote this type of teaching would never say it that way, but that is basically what they are teaching.  You have the freedom to sin and no one has the right to say anything about it.  God knows the heart of man.  He knew that we would be tempted to misuse the freedom we have in Christ.  That is the very reason that He warned us not to use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh.  Yet that is exactly what many are doing today.  They use the term Christian liberty as a smokescreen to satisfy their fleshly desires.

2.  The other view point says that as a Christian you have freedom in Christ.  You are under grace.  You have freedom from sin, not freedom to sin.  You have the freedom to follow God and to be His ambassador to a lost and dying world.  You are free to do what He wants you to do, go where He wants you to go, and wear what honors Him.  The Christian is free to live a life of holiness unto the Lord and while this view point is not as popular it is Scriptural.

When we understand Christian liberty, we understand it is freedom from sin.  Now I am not in any way advocating sinless perfection or the idea that a true Christian will never sin.  What I am saying is that the freedom we have in Christ is a freedom from the power of sin.  We are no longer the slaves of sin but rather have the power through Christ to live in victory over sin.  When I was lost, I had no power to resist sin.  I was of my Father the devil, the lust of my father I would do.  In my flesh there dwells no good thing. But praise be to God when I came to Christ, He set me free from the prison house of sin.  Not so that I could run back to the cell and do all the things I used to do.  That is not freedom.  He set me free so that I could now live after the Spirit and not after the flesh.  He has made me a trophy of his grace.  That is freedom.

We must understand that our liberty in Christ is not liberty to act like a lost world, look like a lost world, and dress like a lost world.  We did all those things when we were in bondage.  We now have the liberty to obey God when He commands us to come out from among them and be ye separate and when He commands us to be holy as He is holy.

Many do not want to preach or practice this truth because preaching on living holy lives offends those who want to do what they want to do.  People leave the church, visitors don’t return, and it doesn’t seem to be conducive to drawing a crowd so lets tell people that liberty in Christ is liberty to do whatever you fell comfortable with.  Their ears are tickled but the truth is perverted.

Romans 6 makes it clear that we are not let sin reign in our mortal bodies that we should obey in the lust thereof.  Dear friend, let us not return again to the former things of bondage.  We are free in Christ, accepted in the beloved, and seated in heavenly places.  May we in a spirit of humility exercise our freedom to follow in the steps of Christ.

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.” – Charles Wesley

written by Pastor Denny Patterson



Ephesians 1:6 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”Image

   There is a desire in every human heart to be accepted.  No one wants to be the odd man out.  No one wants to be rejected.  No one wants to be the one who does not fit in.  Everyone wants to be accepted.  Therefore, people will go to great lengths to be accepted in a group of their peers.  People will wear certain clothes in order to be accepted.  People will laugh at things they don’t consider funny because the group they desire to be accepted by is laughing about it.  The list could go on and on.  People want to be accepted so they try to find out what it is that will make them acceptable.

   The real problem is that many people carry this thought process over into their Christian life, and if they are simply going by experience, they think that being accepted by God is performance based.  In other words, they know Christ and they want to be accepted by Him so they just have to find a list of things they can do to make them accepted and do those things.  After all this has often been their experience with their peers.  However, this does not hold true in our relationship with God.

   If you know Christ as your Savior, there is nothing you need to do to be accepted of God.  Through Christ, you are already accepted in the beloved.  It is not that you will be accepted if you do certain things, but rather, you are now, at this moment, accepted in the beloved. We do not please God in order to be accepted.  We please God because we are already accepted.  This brings great freedom to our lives.

   I am not just referring to salvation.  We understand that our salvation is totally based on the merits of Christ who shed His perfect blood, died and rose again that we might be redeemed.  However, there are those who after salvation, feel they must do certain things to be accepted of their Heavenly Father.  Let me say again, we do not please God to be accepted.  If this is our mindset we will battle fear, frustration, and feelings of futility because this is not the way God intended us to live.

  We seek to please God because we are already accepted.  So their is no fear of rejection, no frustration that comes from wondering if I am doing enough to be accepted, and no feelings of futility that come when I think I just can’t do enough to be accepted.  There is just the freedom to please the one who has already accepted me through the merits of Christ.

   Am I saying that because we are accepted in the beloved we do not need to strive to please the Lord with our lives? No.  I am saying that because we are accepted we can please Him and to please Him becomes our great desire from a heart of love rather than a labor of fear.  What a joy!  Christians will give account to God at the Judgement Seat of Christ.  Yet make no mistake about it, we will not be judged to determine whether or not we are loved of God or whether we will be accepted into the host of heavenly Saints.  We will be judged on what we did to please God because we were already loved and accepted.  This truth is not an excuse to not serve God, but rather this truth gives us the freedom to serve Him with a heart full of joy and gratitude.  Christian, you are loved and you are accepted, now dedicate your life to serving the One who gave His life for you.

Were the whole real of nature mine,

That were a present far too small.

Love so amazing, so Divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all!

-Isaac Watts


Written by Pastor Denny Patterson 

Dealing With the Root of Sin

II Corinthians 10:4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.”

Image Suppose that you had a large tree in your backyard and every fall the leaves would fall off and clog your gutters and create a huge mess in your yard.  So one fall you finally decided that you have had enough of the mess this tree makes.  You are determined to get rid of the tree.  In a fit of anger, you stomp out through the pile of leaves and break several branches off of the tree.  You then say to yourself, “That will do it.  That tree will be gone in no time.”  Of course that would be foolish thinking.  You can’t get rid of a tree by simply breaking off a few branches; you have to chop it down at the roots.  Breaking off a few branches may make someone who doesn’t like the tree feel better, but it has done absolutely nothing to deal with the source of the problem.  The tree will continue to grow and the leaves will continue to fall until an axe is taken to the root of the tree.

Now picture a man with a spiritual problem.  The Holy Spirit calls his attention to the sin in his life.  For example, a man with an anger problem loses his temper and throws a glass cup across the room.  The man is willing to deal with the symptom of the problem, so he apologizes for throwing the glass and he asks God to forgive him as well.  But this man never digs deeper to deal with the root of his problem, which is the sin of anger.  He breaks a few branches off the tree so to speak, but because he does not lay the axe to the root, his anger will continue to grow and manifest itself in different ways.

The Holy Spirit realizes the need for God’s people to plunge beneath the surface and deal with the root sins in their lives.  This is why he inspired the Apostle Paul to write to the church at Corinth that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.  In other words, the Bible is clear that God has the power, not just to deal with the surface symptoms of our sin, but God has the power to lay axe to the root of our sin so that we can walk in victory that is ours through Christ.

Why is it then, that we are so reluctant to allow God to go to work and destroy the sinful roots that have entrenched themselves in our hearts and minds?  I believe the answer to this question is that dealing with the root is painful.  It is painful to have the roots of sin cut out of our heart so we would much rather deal with the symptoms.  It seems less painful to deal with the symptoms but in reality it is not beneficial for us because the root continues to entrench itself in our heart.

Some years ago, I was speaking to a lady who was suffering health issues.  I enquired about her health and she said, “I am in the process of finding another doctor.  The doctor I was seeing is a quack”.  I asked her what had happened and she said, “The doctor told me I need to change my diet and lose weight and that would solve a lot of my problems.  How dare he say that”?  She was clearly offended but the reason she was offended was that this doctor had been willing to address what was in her case, the root of the problem.  She did not want a doctor to deal with the root of the problem; she wanted a doctor to treat her symptoms.

How true is this spiritually as well.  I have talked to many people who have sought Biblical counsel for some symptom in their life, but when you begin to allow the Holy Spirit to dig below the surface with the Word of God and you begin to address the root of the problem, they many times become offended and resist dealing with that issue.  They begin to make excuses about that area of sin, because it is one thing to read about the pulling down of strongholds, but it is another thing to allow the reality of it to be lived out in our lives.  Yet if we would walk in victory, we must deal with the root.  May we ask God to search our hearts, may we then be sensitive to what He reveals about the sin in our lives, and may we then confess our sin and follow the Biblical pattern for victory in that area.  Freedom will come, not by breaking a few branches off the tree of sin, but by pulling down of the strongholds of sin through the power of God.

Written by Pastor Denny Patterson

Before Their Stand, They Stood

ImageEphesians 6:13 “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.”

Most people are familiar with the name General George Armstrong Custer.  Yet most people could not tell you very much about him or his military career.  The one thing that is remembered about George Custer is the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.  At that battle, Custer and his entire regiment were killed by Indians in what is known as Custer’s last stand.  That is really all that most people know about Custer.  The final stand defined his life.

This is also true of those that we read about in the pages of God’s Word.  We associate most Bible heroes with a wonderful stand they took for God.  For example, David and Goliath, Daniel and the lion’s den, Elijah on Mount Carmel and Stephen being stoned.

We think of these men in association with a great stand they took for God and well we should.  Yet we need to realize that before their stand, they stood.  In other words, before the great stand we remember them for, they were already standing for what was right day by day.

These were not men who were living complacent Christian lives who just decided one day to take a bold stand for God.  Rather, they had been standing for right in the little things which led them to stand for right in the big things.

Before Noah built an ark by faith, he had been the only one to live for God in the midst of a wicked generation.

Before Joshua declared, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”, he stood as Moses’ servant.

Before David stood against Goliath, he stood against a lion and a bear trusting God to help him do his job.

Before Elijah stood on Mount Carmel and saw fire fall, he stood against the sin of King Ahab.

Before Daniel stood for God and was thrown in a lion’s den, he refused to defile himself with the king’s meat and wine.

Before Stephen stood in the book of Acts and preached the Gospel as stones were hurled, he had stood as a deacon in the local church.

The reason that these men were able to stand for God when it could have cost them their life is because they had already been standing for God all along.  My friend, the same is true of us.  Don’t talk of how you are going to stand for God tomorrow if you are not standing for Him today.  Ephesians 6:13 exhorts us to stand in the evil day, but we will not stand in the evil day if we are not standing today.

Some apathetic Christian may say, “If it ever really becomes difficult to live for God, if we ever face persecution, then I will stand for God”.  No you won’t.  Not if you are not willing to stand right now.  Take a stand by witnessing for Christ.  Take a stand as a prayer warrior.  Take a stand on the authority of God’s Word.  Take a stand that your home will be a Godly home.  Take a stand to faithfully labor through your local church.

Then, if a moment ever comes when you have to take a difficult stand for Christ- a stand for which you might pay a high price- it can be said of you, “before their stand, they stood”.

written by Pastor Denny Patterson