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Love God and do what you want?

Love God and do what you like. That is what Augustine said but how does that work. When Jesus said, You will know the truth and the truth will set you free and when Paul said It is for freedom that Christ has set you free, what did that freedom mean. How does that freedom sit against the Ten Commandments or the Sermon On The Mount.

There is a story told about Abraham Lincoln - that great US President. One day he was going past an auction of slaves. As he passed he saw that there was a beautiful black girl up to be sold. He could see the leering eyes of the white bidders who were buying this young girl for one reason.

Lincoln went into the auction and began to bid. It was not a cheap sale but he outbid them all and bought the girl. As she was given over to him and he paid the money she looked at him with contempt as she anticipated the terror that she imagined she was bought for. She shouted at him and asked what are you going to do with me now?

"I am going to set you free" he said.

"What do you mean free ?" asked the slave

"Free do do what you like!" he said.

"What.. free to say what I like?" asked the slave

"Yes!" he answered

"Free to do what I like?" asked the slave

"Yes!!" he answered

"Free to go where I like?" asked the slave

"Yes!!!" he answered

"Then I would like to go with you!" she replied.

Now that seems to me to be the freedom that God gives us. When we realise that his love is not just words but demonstrated in Jesus and that he only wants what is best for us we give ourselves back to him. he sets us free to love him. We can do what we like but if wee love him then we only do that which pleases him.

Jesus has set us free from legalism, that is, from always having to be on our best behaviour to try and keep in God's good books. But this freedom brings responsibilities:

"Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love " (Gal 5:13)

"Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God " (1 peter 2:16)

God's grace allows us to sin, but far better than that, it allows us to choose not to sin. If God forgives us the things we do wrong, isn't this even more reason to please him and use our freedom in a way that honours him?


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