10 Jun 2003

How far to go in the freedom side?

Submitted by theshovel
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This question is in reference to the Q&A I am in a really bad situation. I just had a conversation with someone today who was posing this type of question to me, only in a hypothetical context and sometimes it’s hard to know how far to go in the freedom side of it, but I would like some clarification. It’s so opposite of how we are taught and sounds strange when taken to the lenghth that you can take a topic like that in the light of grace and our being in Christ. Thanks….


Hi Joyce!

Hypothetical questions based upon hypothetical situations have nothing in common with real questions based upon real life. A hypothetical question is a facade, a covering for something else, which is why I think you may not have felt comfortable with any answers. After all, if a person has to make up a situation so they can quiz you as to the extent you think we can sin and still be okay then their real question has to do with matters of law and not with life.

Why do I say this? Because law has to do with the intricacies of sin, which is usually what the hypothetical set up is all about. “How much one can sin and get away with it?” has nothing to do with grace but only with leniency. And leniency is nothing more than a lite version of law and its consequences. It’s the slim chance that the judge will throw out the case and let us off the hook. Interestingly, it’s the same old legal mindset regarding “passover”, whereby one’s sins are allowed to slide. And this is what we’ve often thought of in referring to “grace”. But the grace of Christ is the doing away of sin, through death and resurrection. The old has passed away, the new has come. But for some reason we’re still often hoping to have our sins passed over instead of recognizing that they’ve been dealt with once and for all.

Why would it not seem strange to answer a question that seems to focus on sin under the pretext of grace when our hearts desire the grace that has smashed the pretext of sin? Answering a real question that seeks this amazing grace leaves us not caring that it will be held under a legal scrutiny that will only interpret it as promoting “license”. Freedom that is truly free can’t help but to stir up fear within a sin-conscious logic because it is based upon a life where there is no sin.

When you hear the hypothetical question being asked you might want to begin asking some questions of your own so that the real questions behind the façade can come to the surface. Then you can answer what it is that your heart is hearing.

Love, Jim

I’m feeling like I know quite a bit of “theory” with regard to this. I know everything is forgiven, past, present and future. I know that I am no longer under law, etc. etc. . What I am having trouble with is the practical and how it seems wiser to avoid certain situations (not hypothetical) so there isn’t any opportunity for the “condition” of sin in the dead man to rise up and cause a bad situation where I would feel guilty, even though I don’t have to anymore.

Hi Joyce,

I understand what you’re asking here about avoiding certain situations, and it is also here that grace teaches our hearts as to what real wisdom is. Living in true freedom is what establishes our hearts in wisdom so that we avoid the “situation” that always brings sin … and that place is LAW!

Consider that to stand firm in the freedom by which Christ set us free brings real sanity so that we are not confused as to what our living hearts do or do not desire. Standing in law, on the other hand, would convince us that our hearts only desire sin, which would have us avoiding everything that appears to be dangerous, and then while guarding the front door we are overtaken through the back door!

When I’m sane (standing firm in freedom), I know I’m alive, and it makes no sense to hang out in the graveyard. But when I’m insane (standing in law), I’m unsure of my life, and I will look for it even if I have to go to the graveyard to find it … and at that point it makes no difference if I have designated certain graves as off-limits.

Stand firm in the freedom by which Christ has set you free!

Love, Jim

How do you always think in terms of truth all the time?


I can tell you with no uncertainty that my thoughts are not always centered around truth. Yeah, if you had been following me around about an hour ago where I work at Home Depot you might have wondered if I was even remotely thinking in terms of truth. Situations like these keep confirming the only real source of life within me.

It has been the most incredible good news of Christ that continually teaches me that HIS life and HIS truth is my only sanity. And the good news always remains fresh because I know that it has everything to do with everything. The witness of this life is also brought home to this dude by the continual exchange of real life right here on the Shack by all of you!

Love, Jim

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What if who we truly are in Christ IS the only real practicality?   source