Christian Liberty, Limits, and Horses

In Christian circles there is sometimes confusion about sanctification and how it coincides with Christian liberty. As Christians we are “free” from the guilt of sin, the penalty of the law, and yet through sanctification we are bound to the law as we are being conformed into the reflection of the character of God. To help sort this out there is an Illustration I learned from reading C.S. Lewis (which book I do not recall). I’m not certain I have his version of the illustration 100% correct, but it goes like this: The wild horse or dog is already free in a manner of speaking, and yet far worse off than one that submits to an owner. The horse that is “broken” and learns to be led and trained lives well, is treated well, cared for and regularly fed and looked after. So also the dog that has been domesticated is not free in the sense of the wild dogs roaming where they wish, but sleeps at the foot of his master, in a warm bed, or maybe by a cozy fire place. This dog enjoys being called by name, and although restricted by walls and sometimes leashes, is protected, loved and cared for by its owner. Think about pets you have/had and the care and love you lavish upon them.

So as Christians we might be seen as those who proclaim freedom, and yet live lives that the world would say is counter to that claim. Simply put we claim to be free but live lives that maintain distinct boundaries. Our freedom is from the wildness of fighting to be owned or mastered, a freedom from the pack mentality to be a fighter or food in relation to others. We are free to just be owned by our Lord and with the boundaries He establishes enjoy the care, rest and love He so generously lavishes upon us. It is from this context and understanding that I read Matthew 11:19-20, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” We take up a burden, work, or way of life when coming to Christ, but in doing so we are comforted and given a rest we never knew was possible.

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