The Berean Expositor
Volume 9 - Page 8 of 138
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"For he that is called in the Lord, being a slave,
is the LORD'S FREEMAN: likewise also he that is called,
being free, is CHRIST'S SLAVE."
I Cor. 7: 22. pp. 29 - 32
If ever we are to appreciate what freedom means in the full sense of the scriptural
meaning of the term, we must learn the truth of the seeming paradox of I Cor. 7: 22.
One of the first lessons we have to learn, not only in relation to freedom, but in
relation to practically all the doctrines of redemption, is that no blessing or gift is of value
for its own sake. To seek liberty because to our natural temperament bondage is galling,
is to seek, under the cloke of the term liberty, the satisfaction of the flesh. To fail to "use
liberty rather" if the opportunity is given because it brings with it irksome or hazardous
responsibilities, is likewise pandering to the flesh. By nature we judge by outward
appearances. It is God who looketh upon the heart.
The very slave, if a believer, may rejoice in the fact that in spite of all the shackles
made by man, he is free--the Lord's freedman. In the same way the man who is master
of his own time, who owes no man anything, if he is the Lord's, should remember that he
is the very slave of Christ. The heartburnings, the envyings, the frettings that seem so
synonymous with bondage to the mind of the flesh; the boasting, the patronizing, the ease
that so often accompany the conception of freedom to the man of the world, vanish when
viewed "in Christ".
This same spirit is observed in other connections. For example, "For in Christ Jesus
neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith through love
working" (Gal. 5: 6).
From our position we can readily appreciate the teaching that circumcision avails not
anything, but we have not truly grasped the teaching of that statement if we do not as
truly and as enthusiastically endorse the other phase, namely, that uncircumcision is
equally of no avail. That this thought is very closely related to the spirit of I Cor. 7: 22
will be readily seen by reading back a little in I Cor. 7: to verses 18 and 19. The
same argument that is used concerning the slave and the free, is used of the circumcision
and the uncircumcision. The same neutralizing of disabilities and advantages which only
obtain in the flesh and in the world are found again here.
"Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but keeping the
commandments of God". If we read this verse with Gal. 5: 6 we shall know how to
interpret the words, "but keeping the commandments of God". Had we read on in
Gal. 5: to verse 13, we should have seen another close parallel. "For brethren, ye have
been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love
serve (as a slave) one another".