Does Jesus truly set us free? Free from what? What does that mean?
The whole thing about Christmas being completely pagan and the need to "throw the baby Jesus out with the bath water" as it is being discussed on Look Up Fellowship, is making me look at this topic once again.
This situation reminds me of the story of how circus people train elephants to remain on a chain. A very young elephant is chained with a huge chain to a very large peg. He soon wearies himself trying to pull free from the chain. Eventually he resigns himself to the fact that he never will break free. Now the big chain can be replaced with a much smaller and weaker chain that will keep the elephant from breaking away, even though he has more than the needed strength to break free. When Jesus sets us free, we can be alot like that elephant that doesn't really believe that Jesus set us free. We still want to perform within the limitations that we have grown accustomed to. However, if my freedom causes weaker brethren and sisters to "sin" because they believe that living an extreme Puritan lifestyle is the only way Jesus will accept them, should I flaunt my freedom in their faces? The Apostle Paul said I shouldn't do that, but to have compassion for the weaker believers that feel that they must keep to rigid traditions (or a complete break with certain traditions) in order to keep themselves pure. I myself find I don't have to follow the traditions of my family, but can join with them and enjoy being with them in celebrations that I don't necessarily fully agree with, but do not feel condemned in being with them in the celebrating.
We are sanctified in Christ, by His blood, not by our doing or not doing, but "to them who think it is a sin, it is sin".... so should we cause them to sin by making them accept what they see as sin in us? The Apostle Paul said that was not a loving way to be towards others, so we should be mindful of their weak consciences.
But then does that mean I should conform to their way so that their mind can be appeased? If I know it isn't true, then am I not a hypocrite? Shouldn't I be honest about it?
The way I see it (maybe I'm wrong) is if I am in their home, I would respect their way, and eat their food (if it's a food issue), and respect them if they feel unable to come to my home because I do things they see as abominable and my food and drink or habits are intolerable for them, and then not chide them for their weakness, neither let them judge me (Colossians 2:16) because we have one judge, and we all stand before Him.
We serve one God, He is over all. If one who serves Him wants to serve by not doing something, then that is how he will serve God. If another serves God by doing that which another man finds offensive, it is not for him to judge how another man serves God, but to pay attention to his own walk before the Lord.
We will each have to give an account for our own actions, and according to the scriptures love (poured out to us through the blood of Christ) covers a multitude of sins. (Proverbs 10:12)
He gives us His peace.
Edited to add:
A very nice link that has lots of verses which have to do with the freedom we have in Jesus: