The Liberty of Love

The Christian is called to liberty, the holy liberty of the new nature, the liberty of love. It is no longer a law which constrains, or rather vainly seeks to constrain a nature whose will is contrary to it, to satisfy the obligation which accompany the relationships, in which by the will of God we find ourselves—a law imposed, forbidding evil to a nature that loves evil, and commanding the love of God and of one’s neighbor, to a nature whose spring is selfishness.

Had it been possible to take away the Lord Jesus’ moral liberty—which was not possible—it would have been by preventing Him from obeying the will of the Father. This was the very food that He ate (Jhn 4). As a perfect Man, He lived by every word which came forth from “the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4). He chose to die, to drink the bitter cup which the Father had given Him, rather than not obey Him, and glorified Him in drinking it.

Christianity is the liberty of a new nature that loves to obey, and to do the will of the Father. It is true that the flesh, if not kept in the place of death, can use this liberty to satisfy its own desires, just as it used the law which had been given to convict of sin. All law is fulfilled in one word, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The believer can do still more*—he can give himself for others; or, at least following the direction of the Spirit, he fulfills the law of love.

The new life loves to obey, loves holiness, and the Lord Jesus is its strength and wisdom by the Holy Spirit. The flesh is indeed there; it lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit lusts against the flesh, to prevent man from walking as he otherwise would (Gal 5:17). But if we walk in the Spirit, we are not under the law; we are not as the main in Romans Seven, where, impelled by the new nature, the will desires to do good, but, a captive to sin, he finds no way of doing what he desires; for the law gives neither strength nor life. Under law, even if the new life is there, there is no strength; man is the captive of sin.

It is not the Father’s way now to seek to produce holiness in the flesh through the law, for the flesh is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. He gives a new life in the Son, and the Spirit, to produce fruit which is acceptable to Him; and against this fruit there is certainly no divine law (Gal 5:23). The Father cannot condemn the fruit of His own Spirit. It is the new creation, the new life in the Lord Jesus, with its fruit by the Holy Spirit, which alone is acceptable to the Father.

-- J C Bayley

Poster’s Notes:
*”The believer can do still more”: loving others as yourself is limited in comparison to loving others as the Lord Jesus loves (Jhn 13:34), the prior being within the covenant of Law (conditionally); the latter within the covenant of Grace (unconditionally). The difference between these two Covenants (“Old” and “New”) lie within who the covenants, or testaments (i.e. 2Co 3:14; Mat 26:28) are between. The “first” is between man and God, and the “second” (Heb 10:9) is between God and His Son (Heb 13:20).