My wife and I were talking about this . . . early this morning over our early--"all quiet on the Western Front" (everyone's still asleep)--cup of coffee:
"Freedom in Christ". How it is often a throwaway line and/or sometimes not really very understood. The unbelievers and cultists think it means, "Oh, so now that you've got Jesus you can just do whatever you want to"--in other words it simply means "Antinomianism" (a pejorative term for the teaching that Christians are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality.)
But, in effect, it refers to something much richer, deeper, profound . . . powerful yet subtle.
Things that use to have a hold on you--emotional, idolatrous, sensual, ie., have loosened their hold and you are no longer controlled and whipped about by them. . . .
If someone lies about you, or betrays you, or is rude or devious against you. . . where once such a thing would vex and harry your emotions, fomenting resentment and long-lasting anger and thoughts of vengeance (which negative attachments might last for weeks, months, years ongoing) . . . with "freedom in Christ" they fall away rather quickly. Yes, you may be hurt for a moment, but you do not become enslaved to dark and persistent anger that pulls you down to carnal retributive impetus.
I described that it is as if you have armor on and, though you take a blow and it makes you reel or creases your arm, no real damage is done. The attack is repelled and highly mitigated.
Another example: I am working on putting together a new music venture/project which, if done in the past . . . "B.C." . . . I would soon be beset with worldly derailments and temptations of various kinds, mostly psychological, spiritual, but then physical as well. In fact, I would use the "worldliness" of the operation--the energies, idols, strategies of the flesh--to make the thing succeed. But now, as one born again, as exciting as it may be (this project); and as it does necessarily involve engagement with "the world" . . . I can take it or leave it. If it all comes to naught, I will not be crushed or disturbed, but only slightly disappointed . . . as my center, my focus, my main purpose in life . . . is in God, not this or that venture or project.
In other words, I am free--"free in Christ". The vanity involved is gone.
Likewise, whatever setbacks generally in life . . . accidents, material struggles, conundrums etc.,--they are met and dealt with at arms length; the stress or effort they might bring to solve or soldier through do not enter into the fundamental peace and faith I have that "works together for the good" where God is the central devotion and commitment. . . .
It has nothing to do with being "able" to do lawless things or engage in fleshly activities and thoughts with no repercussions. What we find is that we are already FREE from the attachments and enslavements and allurements that worldly, carnal enticements produce. It never goes that far. We don't reach the point of acting on such things or even really thinking of or feeling them, because there is no enslaving "chain" pulling us into it. Spiritual armor stands in the way and there is nothing for "them" to latch onto to draw us into the dark, iniquitous morass, where overt sin abounds.
This doesn't mean that I am not on guard and not watchful for tricks and disguised temptation. . . . But where once it was virtually guaranteed that I would stumble and run off the rails, now there is a supernatural, protective buffer. The world and the things OF the world are dim, dead--even repulsive. "The thrill is gone" so-to-speak. . . .
Instead, I continually see opportunities to take Truth and Light into all circumstances, where, as my wife noted, once you are Christ's . . . and HE is at the center of your purpose and life, all things are done, according to His will, to be "good for you, while giving glory to God". . . .
THIS is what "freedom in Christ" is all about. . . .