The Freedom We Share
Read 1 Cor. 9:19-27 this morning and consider these thoughts.
The context of this passage is Paul's use of his liberty. This is a big deal even today. Are we free? What does this freedom mean and for what purpose have we been set free? Free to do what we want or free to do what God wants? Free to serve self or free to serve others?
It is extremely important that we grasp this and see how Paul viewed his own freedom, and then apply whatever principle and truth we see to our own lives.
Clearly Paul was free. We see it here in 9:19, but also Paul states this clearly in 9:1. His being free is not in question. But what does this mean? That becomes the question. Free in the sense of how the world views freedom, free to live for self and spend his life on himself? Is that what Christ freed him to do? Or is Paul free in another sense, free to not spend his life on himself and instead free to spend his life on the glory of God and the good of others? Is this rather what freedom he is speaking to, freedom that only the gospel of Jesus Christ offers, knowing your future and inheritance and even salvation are secure, thus you can spend your life on God's glory and others.
I think we all know the answer. It is applying the answer that becomes the issue. Taking it by faith and living it out in the power of God and the Holy Spirit thru the Word. This is truly what it means to be free.
Clearly as we read this text, we see that Paul was free to serve others, and this is exactly what he did. Though free, Paul made himself "a slave to all" WHY? It tells us in v. 19 - "to win the more". Paul lived to help others see the glory of God in the gospel and to turn from their sin unto Christ. Verses 22-23 tell us this clearly again when they say "I have become all things to all men so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel."
This is Christian freedom. This is what it means to run the race properly. To run as to win an imperishable crown or wreath. This is the Christian life that God rewards. This is the self-control to which we aim. Not spending your life on yourself, but on the glory of God thru the advancement of the gospel.
Christ emptied Himself to your benefit, now you do likewise. You have been freed in order to serve Christ. Freed from the tyranny and rule of self in order that you would live for God and His glory. For the selfish person who lives for self isn't free at all. They are a slave to self and sin. Christ offers another way to live. Another, true, freedom. And God is glorified in people turning to Him for salvation and being set free.
Run in this way. Be disciplined to this end. Experience this freedom. Freed to live for others and not self. And when your race is over, you will receive our crown. Well done good and faithful servant.
What freedoms might the gospel and God's glory be calling you to lay down in order to promote unity amongst the body of Christ and/or to advance the gospel and reach people with the gospel? Do you truly understand that it is to this end that you have been made free? That this is true freedom?
This the truly free person. Free to deny and lose self to the good of others. May this be us today. To the glory of God and to our joy.