Scary, isn’t it?

Innocent... by Θ What??  You wanted something clever?? Θ

Freedom just scares the hell out of people. It might even scare the hell into them.

To be truly free in Christ, without any shackles of “literal bibles”, “3rd uses of the law” “Christian do-goodism projects”, or “Christian self-improvement projects”…just scares people to death.

Professor and theologian, James Nestingen always says, “The gospel is always in a fight. And that fight always revolves around freedom.”

“They really don’t care if someone’s doctrine doesn’t line up just right before they will share Christ’s Supper with them.”

Yes, we do care.  And yes, we will share…even before we are SURE they understand everything exactly as we do.  We care enough to baptize them first and to tell them exactly what they are receiving.   Who’s Supper is it, anyway?  Who is it that is capable of making someone into the kind of person that He wants them to be, anyway? 

Well, it’s always about the freedom, isn’t it?   And who’s freedom?

God’s freedom.   God’s freedom to love and forgive real sinners.   God’s freedom to take real people who just can’t quite cut it, and probably never will ‘cut it’ in this pride-soaked world, and say to them, “I love you.  I baptized you.  And you are mine.  Begining of story.”

And then it’s about our freedom.  The gift of freedom from our Lord, Christ Jesus, who has freed us by His death and resurrection. Who has freed us by declaring us forgiven and righteous, even though we know not what we do.

Just who is it that we are talking about here?  Can this God really make something out of nothing?  Or is he just itching for us to get it all lined up perfectly BEFORE He acts…for us?

Nope.  Our God is free.   Scary free to many. Wonderfully free to some.

The door is open.  You have been freed.



“But the Bible says such and such about such and such!”

Heeere we go again…



Thanks to flickr and ‘O What, now you want something?’ for the photo.



6 Responses

  1. Professor and theologian, James Nestingen always says, “The gospel is always in a fight. And that fight always revolves around freedom.”

    That is a PERFECT statement, that’s always the design of the “yea but” statement, to bind the conscience. With that kind of move one can bind a conscience to damn near anything, including the most, normally, absurd religious practice. We laugh at third world tribes worshipping this or that monkey or stone statue as if we cannot, but then again just look at some of the none-sense first world America has worshipped over the decades: not smoking, not drinking beer, not dancing, make sure you are at bible studies 24/7. If one steps outside of one’s Americanism religion for a second and into the eyes of an outside observer, these and many more, are just as if not MORE absurd than worshipping a tree.

  2. If the son set you free you will be free indeed. Thank you for this blog post St Stephen.

  3. the idea of Christian freedom is something I don’t yet understand – Jesus has set us free yet we are told to be slaves of Christ – so it’s not right to ask which is it but we more so need to find the balance between the two.

    I love the question “whose Supper is it?” I think we don’t trust God sometimes to make people into who they will be, so we take the task on. This is fine, we are God’s agents, but of course we have a tendency to distort things from time to time – New Adam style.

  4. “The Christian is a free lord, subject to none. The Christian is a dutiful servant, subject to all.”

    Martin Luther

    There is no balance. The Christian is totally free and totally bound to the neighbor.

  5. Charlie,

    I understand your question, that one use to just give me a mental train wreck back in the day. Balance is not the answer, in fact “balance” is against Christ.

    Maybe a few examples:

    This is my favorite one:

    In the African state orphanages it is basically “every man (child) for themselves”. I.e. the state run orphanages run on a “law” principle or a kind of “quid pro quo”, principle. So the children at food time tend to plop down at their plates and hover over their food like growling dogs protecting it from the other children. They are “slave” as it were, to the State.

    When these children are moved from a state run orphanage to a church run one it takes time for the new ones to acclimate. At first at dinner time they do what they’ve always done, “protect”, what (little) is yours like a dog growling over their food bowl. Yet the children that have been there for a while realize, “hey, I’m part of the FAMILY now, unconditionally, even if I screw up, I cannot loose a single thing”. These TRUST (faith) their orphanage overseers not like ‘quid pro quo’ law state orphanages, but like a family (can’t kicked out EVER). So these don’t guard their food like ravaging dogs, but freely share it like CHILDREN of the king (see how important the sacraments are!!!).

    At length the former state run orphan transferred over to the church run orphanage realizes, “hey even when I do wrong, I’m STILL IN”. And over time and at length, however so imperfectly, he/she becomes a loving child not a legalistic “law” child.

    This neither happens over-night or anywhere NEAR perfectly in this life, but at length it sinks in more and more, with the repetition of the pure Gospel, (i.e. absolution, baptism and the LS) – this freedom creates the bond slave to the neighbor. Not one who does for his neighbor to “impress God” nor to gain his/her own “sanctification project” but BECAUSE one realizes, “hey I’m saved period and NOTHING can ever change that!”. At length the stronger this grows the Christian can even suffer great loss for the faith, without this NO MAN can suffer for the faith.

    The scary part if for the old man, the old Adam, that thinks works are the way, explicitly or implicitly (EVEN AS PROOFS); the old Adam from the state orphanage simply refuses, unbelief, to believe this, it terrifies him because it KILLS him on the cross by saying, “Yes, ALL your projects are damnable, even and especially trying your best”.

    It is likewise capture this way:

    “WHERE THERE IS forgiveness of sin, there is salvation and life” (not vice versa ala Calvin, et. al.)

    “Even IF you don’t get better, you are saved”

    “Even IF you don’t believe, you are forgiven” (NOTE: This is in no way universalism, to call this universalism is to miss ENTIRELY the true bondage of the will, the fall of man).

    “I am Christ’s sin as Christ is my righteousness, only the works OF Christ will stand in the day of judgment”.

    “The greatest possible comfort comes from this doctrine, that true worship in the Gospel is the desire to RECEIVE the forgiveness of sin, grace and righteousness” (NOTE: On “righteousness, this means CHRIST’S righteousness imputed to me just as if what He did, said, lived and suffered was precisely as if I did, said, lived and suffered it. I.e. there are NO MORE good works necessary to do at all and all one does in faith is a good work by definition. And when one sins it is already forgiven.)

    Thus, FREE in Christ and thus, bond slave to the neighbor – literally. Now that Christ has forgiven you and given you His righteousness, now what do you want to do? God is pleased with it even if it is but sweeping the floor or growing a single flower.

    See how precious is baptism and the body and blood of Christ!

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