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Freedom to Choose

The Christian has freedom to make decisions about matters that are not revealed in Scripture without fear of sinning against God.

In Genesis, before the Fall, Adam was given freedom to name the animals, however he saw fit (Genesis 2:19). Regarding his food, God told Adam, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die“ (Genesis 2:16-17).

God gave Adam both liberty (“thou mayest freely eat”) and moral guidance (“thou shalt not eat”). Clearly Adam had the freedom to eat at will, at his discretion, from whatever trees seemed pleasing to him at the time. The forbidden tree was God’s revealed moral law and rightfully restricted Adam’s freedom. He was told that seeking autonomous freedom would lead to death.

In this world there are many sinful desires and potentially sinful choices. We have God’s Word to guide us in those matters. But we also have myriads of choices that God allows us to make at our own discretion and for our own enjoyment of His creation. Paul wrote: “God … giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). That everything is not dictated by moral law leaves us with freedom to enjoy human diversity. One can choose to fill his yard with flowers and another with green grass, and another with both. 

How do we find out God’s will in matters of Christian liberty? By making an informed choice and living out all the ramifications of that choice to God’s glory by His grace. If that choice does not transgress anything revealed in Scripture, then it cannot be a sinful choice unless we make it with evil motives. Examples of choices that the New Testament expressly says are within the realm of Christian liberty are things like marriage, food, circumcision, and holy days to be observed. What we are not free to do is judge others on matters that God has not dictated in Scripture. 

The Bible commands us to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10), but does not tell us at which job. The Bible tells us to pray (Romans 12:12), but does not tell us for how long and where. The Bible tells us to do acts of kindness to widows and orphans (James 1:27), but does not tell us where and when. Even when doing what the Bible commands us to do, we still have Christian liberty. 

—Condensed from “God’s Will and Christian Liberty” by Bob DeWaay.