Free The Gospel! The Gospel Does Not Lead To Licentiousness

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow… The power of sin, death and the devil has been destroyed by the cross of Jesus… God declares you perfect because of the accomplished work of Christ… There is now no condemnation for those of you who are in Christ… Because of Jesus’ righteousness God is well pleased with you… You are accepted, accepted, accepted by a Gracious God through Christ… Jesus Christ has set us free from the demands and expectations of the law…”

My soul resonates with joy when I proclaim and hear Gospel statements like the ones listed above. My heart gets fired up over the freedom that comes from the Gospel. My hands clasp together in a victorious manner over the power of the Gospel. I also find myself smiling with a subtle yet triumphant half-smile due to the conquering and fulfilling nature of the Gospel. However, over the years I have found that every time that I hear or proclaim the free message of the Gospel that a faint conditional statement is also heard in the distance. What happens is that after the fired up heart, clasping hands and half-smile, a conditional statement seems to come creeping out of the depths of my sinful flesh saying,

“yeah but, just because Jesus died for sin, it doesn’t mean that we have a license to sin. We need to be careful of having too much freedom for we do not want to end up in lawlessness land.”

I have found that as Christians we many times attribute ‘lawlessness’ or we could say ‘the license to sin belief’ to the preaching of the Gospel. Somewhere in our thinking we rationalize that if the Gospel is presented as “too free, too unconditional or that Jesus fulfills the law for us” that the result will be lax morality, loose living and lawlessness. It is as if we believe that the freeing message of the Gospel actually produces, encourages and grants people a license to sin. Because of this rationalization we find ourselves strapping, holding and attaching restrictions to the Gospel so that we might prevent or limit lawlessness. In other words, the Gospel is placed into bondage due to our rationalization and reaction to lawlessness.

In Galatians 2:17 Paul says,

“If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!”

In this verse the Apostle Paul shows us that it is not a fair conclusion to link lawlessness to the freeing message of the Gospel. To put it in another way, the proper effect of the Gospel of Jesus (i.e. justification by faith alone) does not grant a license to sin nor lead us to lawlessness. The Gospel is not and cannot be held responsible for lawlessness. For if lawlessness did come about by the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, then that would make Jesus Christ a promoter, supporter and distributor of sin and rebellion! In other words, Paul is declaring, “God Forbid this rationalization!”

So, what does this mean for us as people of the Cross? It means that there is Freedom for the Gospel! We do not have to hold, restrict and condition the Gospel of Jesus. We get to preach the full freeing message of the Gospel without having to fear that by doing so we are bringing about lawlessness. We get to teach and live the full freeing message of the Gospel without having to worry about issuing a sin license to others. Furthermore, we can also know by Galatians 2:17 that if lawlessness and a license to sin exist, that these perverted freedoms can be traced back to something else other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, namely our sinful nature. May our souls resonate today with Paul’s words from Galatians 5:1,

“Christ has set us free! This means we are really free. Now hold on to your freedom and don’t ever become slaves of the Law again.”

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