Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Rights Christians Have

Rights Christians Have, Don’t Have, Like, and Don’t Like

 

The Constitution. The Bill of Rights. Documents protecting the rights of citizens of the United States.

As we celebrate another anniversary of the birth of our nation, I wonder . . . what rights do Christians have or don’t have? And what source protects those rights?

If we search Scripture regarding our rights, we’ll find answers that may not be popular. Are you willing to continue reading, even if you may not like the answer?

 

The Right We Don’t Want and No Longer Have

Apart from salvation in Christ, the only thing we have a right to is judgment for sin. The Bible is clear, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23 NIV). In Christ, we have been spared the judgment we earned the right to have.

 

The Right We Don’t Have, But Sometimes Wish We Did

We no longer have the right to ourselves. And yet, we want that right more often than most of us would like to admit. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24 NIV). Deny ourselves. Give up our rights.

We have been bought with a price. Peter wrote, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19 NIV).

 

The Right We Don’t Always Like, But Do Have

Now it gets sticky. Because this right that we do have is not one we always like.

The apostle Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20 NIV). Our old nature has died. We no longer live for ourselves.

Think about the number of times Paul and Peter began their letters by identifying themselves as bondslaves or servants of Christ. They had given up any rights to their own autonomy. Jesus even told Peter how he would die. “When you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18 NIV). Peter was so surrendered to God that he gave up his right to any control over how he would die. And Paul, in writing to Timothy, talked about being “useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21 NIV).

 

The Right We Have, Like, and Don’t Deserve

Because we have received Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, we are fully restored to our Father. We already read a portion of Romans 6:23, but the full verse says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NIV). And in Ephesians 2:8, we read, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

 

Americans love to talk about our rights. But as Christians, the only right we really have is “the right to give up our rights.”

What does giving up your rights look like in your life?

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