March 16, 2012
True freedom does two things. One, it drives Christians closer to God, and two, it drives Christians to love one another. On March 14, Jeremiah Custar exhorted students at OBU to pursue freedom in Christ by submitting to Him.
A senior from Ardmore, Okla., Custar spoke during a weekly chapel message at OBU. His message, “The Components of True Worship,” follows OBU’s current chapel theme, “The Purpose of Man: Designed to Worship,” based on the book by Christian author A.W. Tozer.
Custar spoke primarily from Galatians 5, subtitling his message “For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free.” He asserted while Christians may understand they are free, they do not know what they are free from, or what they should do with their freedom. Custar addressed two extreme views: libertarian freedom, a “do whatever you want” attitude in which freedom is used as a cloaking mechanism for misbehavior; and legalistic freedom, in which people are required to follow a set of rules, creating a burdensome atmosphere. Neither of these, Custar said, are profitable or appropriate.
“If we choose anything other than Christ, then we are not choosing freedom,” Custar said. “Actually, Paul says if we choose anything other than Christ, we are actually choosing slavery.”
Real freedom has three components, according to Custar. First, freedom comes from Christ alone. Second, freedom cannot be earned. Finally, freedom cannot be explained away or taken away by “false teachers,” as he discussed in Galatians 5, since negative persuasion is “not from Him who calls you.”
Custar explained freedom comes to Christians as a result of salvation. Though many people believe other methods of “salvation” earn them earthly freedom and entrance into heaven, like church membership or good works outweighing the bad, “the only thing that works is Jesus,” he said.
“We think if we play this song, and if we preach this certain message with a certain tone, and we have an altar call and everyone’s bawling their eyes out, and it’s an emotional time, then that’s the ‘magic formula,’ and that’s what gets God moving,” Custar said. “I hate to tell you, but that is legalism. That is not how it works.”
Christians are encouraged numerous times in the New Testament to yield themselves to Christ as “bondservants,” “prisoners,” or “slaves” of Christ. While submission may not seem like a catalyst for freedom, Custar assured students that submission to Christ is the only way to experience freedom. As evidence, he referenced 1 Corinthians 7:22-23, which says, “For He who called you in the Lord as a bondservant is a free man in the Lord…You were bought with a price. Do not become bondservants of men.”
Custar quoted 2 Peter, telling students whatever overcomes a person, enslaves them. He challenged students to live as bondservants of Christ, and to be overcome by Christ rather than evil.