1. Christian liberty
A. Freedom from the
rituals of the Mosaic law.
Sacrifices, offerings, Sabbath, tithing. Col. 2:16
“Let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in
respect to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day.”
This includes circumcision.
1 Cor. 7:18-19; Gal. 6:15; 5:6;
B. Freedom from the dietary code of the Mosaic law.
1 Timothy 3:3-5, “foods which God has created to be gratefully
shared in by those who know and believe the truth. For
everything created by God is good and nothing to be rejected if it
is received with grace thankfulness.”
2. The primary cause for this issue with diet, rituals and holidays is
the cultural standards prescribed in the Mosaic law. Related
is the pseudo superiority complex that developed among the
Basically, there was to be no social interaction between Jew
Gentile unless the particular Gentile had become a convert
was in strict compliance with all the standards of the Mosaic
Acts 10:28, "And
he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is
forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner;
and yet God
has shown me that I am not to call any person unholy
(Acts 11:3; 15:1, 5; Gal. 2:11-15).
3. Summary of Christian liberty from 3 passages:
Romans 14:1-15:7; 1 Corinthians 8; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33
A. Romans 14:1-15:7
1. Verse 1 exhorts us to unity by receiving the weak believer,
but not for the purpose of arguing and disputing and ridiculing
2. The weak believer is one who has not grown in The Faith.
one who has not been taught or has not accepted good
3. In this case, the weakness is thinking that abstinence from
eating meat is a basis for greater favor with God.
4. The strong believer is not to despise or judge the weak believer
or ridicule him for his weakness.
This believer understands the doctrine of Christian liberty,
can still be tempted to be judgmental.
5. The weak
believer does not understand this doctrinal truth
and therefore bases his
Christian life on false issues.
6. No believer has
any business judging another believer.
This is God’s prerogative only.
However, proper discernment
and attempts to instruct the weaker believer
in the right
attitude are proper and to be expected by the informed believer.
7. Verses 5-9 deal
with the strong believer who has personal
preferences in life. Each believer
is to be fully confident about
his personal choices and taboos for
But such choices and taboos must not be imposed upon others.
8. One believer
chooses not to eat meat and he is free to do so
according to the law of
Another believer chooses to eat meat and he also is free to do
so according to the law of liberty.
neither one is to use that choice as a basis for
finding favor with God or
for judging the other believer.
10. So all
believers can serve and please God equally regardless
of their choices to do
or not do various things in life. If a believer
chooses to not eat meat, this
does not affect his spiritual life.
However, if he thinks that this
is a requirement to please God,
then he is deceiving himself.
AND if he attempts to require the
the same observance for all
believers, then to him, that belief
and practice is religious
legalism and it is sin.
11. Personal taboos
are never the issue.
The issue is that whether we are alive here on earth or
in the presence of the Lord, we belong to Him and are
responsible for fulfilling His purpose for our existence.
12. Verses 10ff
then pick up again with the strong vs. the weak
believer. According to
verses 4 and 10-12, we have no
business judging another believer, because
all of us are
responsible for our own activities and will stand before
the reward seat of Christ
to receive evaluation of those
activities. At that time, Christ will judge and reward
according to our works – without any help from us.
reward seat of Christ
13. Therefore, we
should not be judging each other but be
constantly on the alert for
demonstrating love and grace
14. Everything that
is not forbidden in the word of God is
permitted to believers. But if a
believer is weak in
knowledge of bible truth, and thinks that something is
forbidden, then to him it is viewed as a sinful activity.
15. If such weak
believer sees you do something that he thinks
is sin AND judges you for it,
YOUR activity then becomes a
cause of that person’s sin.
16. Obviously, this
is done with YOUR knowledge of the weaker
believer’s viewpoint. In such a case, you are not living according
to the law of love and
likewise are guilty of sin.
17. Do not cause
the weaker believer to sin by your adherence
to the law of liberty, but
failure to walk in love.
This will be sinfulness to you and conflicts
bring criticism upon the Christian church.
18. The real issue
in the Christian life (living in the kingdom of God
here on earth) is not dietary preferences
(to eat or not to eat).
Nor is it related to holidays (to observe
or not to observe).
It is righteousness,
peace and true happiness through the ministry
of the Holy Spirit working
in the believer’s life based on the
content of God's word that is in the
19. When we
maintain our fellowship with God and walk
according to the principle of
love, we not only please God,
but provide a witness to others of the real
nature of Christianity.
20. Therefore, the
issue in our use of liberty is to pursue the
things that make for peace;
harmony and unity, and the
edification of one another. We attempt to
to the weaker believer.
21. By our use of
Christian liberty without the application of love,
we can “destroy” the
weaker believer by causing him to get out
of fellowship with God.
22. We have liberty
to do anything that is not directly forbidden
by the word of God, but when
we do it and it causes the weak
believer to sin, then it becomes
sin for us as well.
23. It is good
(right and proper) to do NOTHING that causes
the weak believer to sin. That weak
believer who sins cannot
technically blame you for his sin. He
is personally responsible
for his own volitional decisions. But
YOU have become a source
of temptation, and in the eyes of
God, you are responsible
for your own failure to walk
according to beneficent love.
24. Verses 22-23
emphasize the principle that the believer
is to have absolute confidence
concerning the activities
permitted by the doctrine of Christian liberty.
If there is doubt about what you are doing, then that doubt
becomes sin if you do the activity.
So if you have no confidence in what the word of God teaches
and you think a particular activity is forbidden, then don’t do it
"for whatever is not
according to faith (or confidence) is sin."
25. Our obligation
as believers walking according to love,
is to remove the weaknesses of the
This is done through teaching that believer what
the Word of God
proclaims about our Christian liberty.
26. We are to seek
the benefit (what is spiritually best)
for the weaker believer FIRST, and
then our own spiritual benefit.
We do this in two ways:
desist from doing the activity that offends the weaker
b. We teach the doctrine of Christian liberty for
27. Christ is our
example in this principle of walking
according to love. When He died on the
cross, He died FOR US,
putting OUR spiritual benefit first and His own
spiritual benefit last.
28. The whole
thrust of this passage is to promote unity among
believers through the
teaching and application of bible truth.
This then promotes maximum service
to God and
glorification of Christ.
29. The conclusion:
Receive one another in the sphere of true
Christian love – putting others
This is done by teaching them. The only way they can
confidence concerning the freedom we have through Christian
liberty is to teach God’s
word. It is their deficiency of
knowing bible truth that causes lack of confidence and doubts.
B. 1 Corinthians 8
1. Knowledge of bible
truth without the application of beneficent
love is a source of soul
Pride, selfishness, indifference to others.
2. Knowledge with the
application of beneficent love is the source
a. The filling of
the Spirit: fellowship and love produces growth.
b. The application
of love and our knowledge of bible truth
helps others to grow.
3. The believer who
assumes to have knowledge and does not
express beneficent love is actually deficient of truth and
is out of fellowship with God.
4. The believer who is
in fellowship with God, walking in the Spirit,
has the capacity to enjoy
true peace and joy as the character
of Christ is manifested in his life and he expresses beneficent love.
5. There are many
activities that are not specifically forbidden to
the believer by God’s
word. Down through history some of these
things have been considered
non-spiritual or sinful things by those
who do not understand the doctrine of Christian liberty.
6. Such believers who
consider one or more of these activities to be
spiritually “off limits” and
sinful, when actually they are not,
are said to have a weak conscience.
a. The conscience
is the element of the heart (mentality)
that contains a person’s norms and standards that
govern one’s manner of life.
b. A weak
conscience is one that is deficient of divine viewpoint
which is the basis
for proper norms and standards.
c. Such a
conscience contains false criteria for conducting one’s
false standards that are not found in the bible.
d. The weak
believer sets up a system of false taboos to which
he holds himself & other
7. Verse 8 indicates
that these unmentioned activities have no
significance whatever in
determining one’s relationship with
God in regard to either salvation or
8. The believer who
knows the principle of verse 8, is to be alert
that he does not cause a weak believer (who does not know the
principle) to stumble (be offended,
judgmental or even to engage
in the activity himself). In either case it amounts to sin for
9. If a weak believer
sees you doing one of these false taboos and –
a. You know he is
weak in that area.
b. You know he is watching you.
- then it is your
responsibility to –
doctrinal instruction to help the weak believer.
10. Two reasons are
a. The weak
believer will be tempted to judge and thus sin.
b. The weak
believer will be tempted to do the activity and later
feel guilty because of
his weak conscience, which is also sin.
11. When this happens
we are guilty of sin because we have
neglected our responsibility to walk in love.
12. The principle is:
If something causes my brother to sin,
then I will not do that activity with
that believer’s knowledge.
13. The law of love
supersedes my own desires, wants and activities.
However, I personally
believe that if proper instruction has been
given and the weak believer
refuses to accept it, then I am
released from the rigidity of that law.
In other words, I need not
go out of my way to AVOID doing
something that might offend that weak believer.
likewise, I will not abuse my liberty by purposely
challenging that weak believer.
C. 1 Corinthians 10:23-33
1. The doctrine of
Christian liberty states that all things are
permissible to the believer
which are not specifically forbidden
by the word of God.
2. But not all things are beneficial. Not all things promote
3. One issue in applying the doctrine of liberty is to seek the benefit
of others before your own benefit.
4. Don’t make an issue
of someone’s activity or your own,
when that activity is a bona-fide
activity, and definitely
not an issue in spiritual matters.
5. When dealing with
an unbeliever, do not make an issue of that
person’s activities that are not forbidden in the bible.
And of course, when dealing with salvation,
the only issue is faith in Christ.
6. If the unbeliever
makes an issue of some activity that his
conscience thinks is wrong, and challenges you for it,
and move the conversation back to the
issue of faith in Christ.
7. As believers,
through grace, we have liberty to do many things
that the world (and even
other believers) may deem to be sinful.
We should not allow our Christian
life and Christianity in general
to be criticized through our misuse of our liberty.
8. Therefore, whatever
you do, do all to the glory of God.
That means to seek the benefit and promotion of
God’s plan at all times.
9. The principle of
verse 24 applies to both believers and unbelievers.
"Let no one seek his own benefit,
but the benefit of the other person."
1Thes. 5:15. "But always seek after
that which is good for one
another and for all men."
Gal. 6:10, "So while we have
opportunity, let us do good to all
men (people), and especially to those
who are of the household
of the faith."
10. Our attitude should
be as Paul’s was.
Always seek the benefit of the other person before your
a. To believers so
that they can be built up and grow spiritually.
b. To unbelievers
so that the issue of salvation will remain focused
on faith in Christ and
not on any side issues. 2 Cor. 2:2
to know nothing among you except
Jesus Christ and Him crucified."