"Despite God’s call to be free and His earnest admonition to resist all efforts to curtail it, there is very little emphasis in Christian circles today on the importance of Christian freedom. Just the opposite seems to be true. Instead of promoting freedom, we stress our rules of conformity. Instead of preaching living by grace, we preach living by performance. Instead of encouraging new believers to be conformed to Christ, we subtly insist that they be conformed to our particular style of Christian culture. Yet, that’s the bottom line effect of most of our emphases in Christian circles today.
For example, many people would react negatively to my quoting only part of Galatians 5:12, “You, my brothers, were called to be free.” Despite the fact that this statement is a complete sentence, they would say, “But that’s not all of the verse. Go on to quote the remainder: ‘But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.’”
The person who reacts this way has made my point. We are much more concerned about someone abusing his freedom than we are about his guarding it. We are more afraid of indulging the sinful nature than we are of falling into legalism. Yet legalism does indulge the sinful nature because it fosters self-righteousness and religious pride. It also diverts us from the real issues of the Christian life by focusing on external and sometimes trivial rules.”
– Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace, pp. 121-122