Christian Chefs International
Christian Liberty
"Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
2 Cor 3:17 (NKJV)

Even though Jesus wasn't born on the 25th of December (no shepherds are found on the fields of Bethlehem during the winter as was the case when Jesus was born -- see Luke 2:8), it is appropriate for us to celebrate His coming to the earth once a year, just as we commemorate His death and rejoice in His resurrection every spring. Unfortunately the significance of Christmas has been almost entirely lost and this is true even among Christians. Food, gifts, charity and being together with the family is what we would say "matters the most," but Jesus Himself had another picture in mind:

"Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour."
John 12:27 (NKJV)

Jesus was born into this world to die for our sins (Rom 4:25) and through His death, grant us liberty from sin and death (Rom 8:2). He came to liberate us from a lifelong attempt to gain God's favor through a ritualistic adherence to a religious program. Jesus made it very clear in His conversations with and about the Pharisees that carrying unnecessary burdens wasn't the way God had designed a human life to be lived (Luke 11:46). Paul addressed the issue of Christian liberty numerous times in his epistles, but how many Christians are there today that live in true liberty -- free from guilt and condemnation? Nearly two thousand years later we are still allowing heavy burdens to be placed on our backs, and while we moan under the weight that nearly crushes us, we wonder what happened to peace and joy.

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
Gal 5:1 (NKJV)

The (many times well meaning) people who tell us how we should live our lives in order to be right with God, fail to see that the differences God placed in us naturally causes us to have different convictions in many areas. The Bible is very clear about the areas from where no believer can stray away without dire consequences (e.g., purity) but there are plenty of other areas in a Christian walk that can be tailored to fit a specific person's needs and desires. While it is never a right time to commit adultery, it is always a right time to pray, but the time and place varies from person to person depending on schedules and personalities, just as it did in the Bible. While going to church on a Sunday morning seems to be mandatory for most churches, the Bible is not as strict about it. While one man may consider Sunday to be above all other days, the Bible invites every one to be fully convinced in their own minds whether to make Sunday holier than the rest of the days or esteem every day alike (Rom 14:5). As long as you rest one day of the week and meet regularly with other believers, you do not have an obligation to explain your whereabouts on a Sundaght with God, fail to see that the differences God placed in us naturally causes us to have different convictions in many areas. The Bible is very clear about the areas from where no believer can stray away without dire consequences (e.g., purity) but there are plenty of other areas in a Christian walk that can be tailored to fit a specific person's needs and desires. While it is never a right time to commit adultery, it is always a right time to pray, but the time and place varies from person to person depending on schedules and personalities, just as it did in the Bible. While going to church on a Sunday morning seems to be mandatory for most churches, the Bible is not as strict about it. While one man may consider Sunday to be above all other days, the Bible invites every one to be fully convinced in their own minds whether to make Sunday holier than the rest of the days or esteem every day alike (Rom 14:5). As long as you rest one day of the week and meet regularly with other believers, you do not have an obligation to explain your whereabouts on a Sunday to anyone else (not even to your pastor, if you don't want to). In the same manner, don't let anyone place you in the bondage of having to attend every service of the week in order to be "right with God." You answer to God, not to humans, regardless of how much they would like to be able to control you.

"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh."
Col 2:13-23 (NKJV)

To (attempt to) live in obedience to a bunch of regulations may make a person look holy and humble, but the Bible calls such humility false and it doesn't lead to the desired result: holy living (1 Peter 1:16) If obedience to the Law would have helped make Israel holy and blameless, Jesus would never have had to die on the cross (Rom 8:3). We all know that Jesus died on the cross and yet almost all churches insist on obedience to a similar code of rules and regulations that Israel had. Regulations can never help us defeat the flesh, but Jesus can. And that is why we were never called to live according to a manmade rule book, (Mark 7:8-9) instead we were called to live close to Jesus.

"God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
1 Cor 1:9 (NKJV)

We call the Gospel good news, but going from one kind of bondage to another, as most believers seem to do, is not good news. Yet the Gospel is good news. That is, the Gospel without any additions. After you have formed your life to be in obedience to the absolutes that all believers have to obey (a simple study of the Bible is sufficient, for they are very obvious), then it is your strengths and weaknesses that determine what kind of life you should lead; whether you are able to drink wine with food or whether you aren't able to even taste a drop. Jesus promised us freedom (John 8:36) and an abundant life (John 10:10). Don't let anyone steal those away from you.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Susanna Krizo


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