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Sowing Wild Oats

Liberty is on the lips of many in our day. Everyone wants to be at liberty to do what he wants. The use of the term is commonly associated with freedom. Man wants to be free to do his own thing. In his mad pursuit of freedom man wants to be free from any restrictions or restraints. Freedom and liberty are often interpreted to be license. Any restraint at all is looked on as enslavement and must be done away with. For man to be free is looked on as the ultimate good on earth.

What must the child of God think of all this freedom mania? He must under­stand the world’s liberty to be false lib­erty. Man is in bondage to sin from which he cannot extricate himself. This liberty of man, the child of God may have nothing to do with. The liberty we must seek is the Christian liberty of the Scrip­tures. The one acknowledges God as the author of all liberty; while the other originates in the wicked heart of man. We must be aware when speaking of liberty to carefully distinguish between these two diametrically opposed forms of lib­erty. They must not be confused in our own minds. You and I have a tendency to forget about this very important distinc­tion and make the world’s liberty our watchword. When we do, we make liberty an occasion to the flesh which Paul warns us against in Galatians 5:13.

In order to understand true liberty, which is the only liberty, we must know that it is intimately related to God. He is the creator of all things, including, man. God made man the way He so willed and determined his relationship to God, man, and the rest of creation. Man as a result of this creator-creature relationship is bound by God and the law’s God has established for him to live under. Liberty for man is moving freely within the sphere of the laws God created for him. God’s law for man is love the Lord his God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. God created man in true knowl­edge, righteousness and holiness after His own image. As the image-bearer of God, man willingly does what God commands him. This is the only liberty man knows and all else is bondage.

By nature we do not want this liberty. Natural man says, and we with him, we would rather have the bondage of sin than the liberty of God. Christ is the only way we are liberated. His atoning blood freed us from the bondage of sin. The spirit of Christ dwelling in us makes us free from sin. By nature we were under the dominion of sin. We did the will of our father the devil. Christ has set us free from this bondage. Because of this regenerating spirit God is now our Father. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage,” Gal. 5:1.

We are truly free to live unto God. Does this mean there is no standard we must follow for our lives? Not at all. Our standard is now scripture. It will show us how we must live unto God. The scrip­tures are the only standard. Natural man will have none of it. He would rather set his own selfish lustful standard. The child of God, regenerated as he is, willingly submits to God’s Word. The scriptures show us how to live as liberated children of God.

There is a warning to be given those who would use their Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. Paul gives us this warning in Galatians 5:13. Paul says it is easy for us to fall into the temptation of using our Christian liberty for our own selfish ends. The problem you and I face is that while we are free from the bond­age of sin and its curse, our sinful flesh is still with us. Because of this condition, we must fight against our own flesh as it rebels against the desire of our heart to be free in Christ. Our heart tells us to follow the path of true freedom of a sanctified life in Christ, while our flesh wants us to follow the false liberty of the world which is the pathway of sin. This struggle we fight all our lifelong. We must be care­ful when using our liberty we do not mistake it for the licentiousness of the world’s liberty thereby making our lib­erty an occasion to our flesh.

I would like to call your attention to ways in which we misuse our Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. I detect this misuse in the “I want to do my own thing” attitude we have toward life. We do not care what our parents say or think. Worse yet, we do not care what Scripture has to say to us. We are free are we not? And we often ask “what’s wrong with it?” or “why can’t we?”. When we ask these questions, we must determine whether they arise from a renewed heart which is genuinely interested in living a sanctified life or are we using them as an excuse to sin.

In close relation to doing our own thing we take sin lightly. We show this with remarks such as “what’s so bad about that” and “he must sow his wild oats”. We know what we are doing is sin­ful but we act as if we don’t care. The name for this attitude is antinomianism. Yes, I know we are not antinomians in the sense of actively pursuing their ideas. Yet this whole attitude of taking sin lightly is practical antinomianism whether we want to admit it or not. The antinomian would have us believe we are free from the law and therefore free to trans­gress it. Scripture mentions this attitude toward sin in Romans 6:1 “Shall we con­tinue in sin that grace may abound?” The answer is “God forbid.” We have no right to take sin lightly, especially since we are free in Christ. The antinomian wants to use his liberty as an occasion to the flesh. He wants to sin as he pleases. This is nothing more than the liberty of the world which is licentiousness. We do this same thing by excusing our sin. We may never adopt this flippant attitude toward sin. Do not forget we must do the will of our heavenly Father. Christ has made us heirs with Him of the glory of God. We are adopted to be his sons and daughters and as such, we hate sin as He hates it. And when we do sin we are sorry for it. We do not laugh at it or excuse it.

In closing, we must walk in the liberty of Jesus Christ. He has set us free from the curse of the law and has merited righteousness for us. As thankful sancti­fied Christians we must walk in the way of righteousness. We must do this con­sciously and diligently. Be free, yes, be at liberty in Christ then we will not walk after the flesh but after the spirit.