Romans 14:5-6: Liberty of Conscience
When I say the words, ‘Liberty of Conscience’, what comes to mind? I hope you have two distinct ideas in your minds, Christian Liberty, and then the world’s wrong definition of it. Freedom of conscience is not the freedom to believe whatever I want or determine to be true, nor to sin in any way I please and you are not allowed to judge. Today’s definition of freedom stands on very different foundations to the Christian one. We believe that we are free by virtue of our humanity, being made in the image of God and our freedom being necessary to freely love and obey God. The basis for freedom today is totally different. ‘We are considered to be free because there is no cosmic order, there is no essential human nature, and there are no truths or moral absolutes that we must kneel to. Today the view is that ‘there are no longer any foundations at all’ because the universe itself is arbitrary, contingent, aleatory.’ Nothing then, has any rightful claim on us, and we may live as we see fit.’ This is the world’s wrong understanding of the hard fought for Christian belief. Christian liberty is not the liberty to sin or self-define but the liberty to serve God unhindered. The gospel creates a freedom for the child of God so that they are freed from the enslaving and destructive effects of sin and they can find their peace and joy in holiness as God intended. It is a freedom to obey not from obedience. It is a freedom from sin not to sin. It is a freedom to have our consciences bound only by God’s word and not any other so called authority.