God offers freedom to those who turn to Him in faith, and this, as Pastor Andrew says, deserves a Toyota jump. It is worth celebrating! The freedom the New Testament speaks of is not just any old freedom. In Romans 8:21 Paul speaks of ‘the glorious freedom of God’s children’ (NET). In the same way you might savour a piece of chocolate as it slowly melts in your mouth, allow your spirit to savour the meaning of the freedom that is yours in Christ in all its richness. This single word freedom is densely packed with meaning, and we benefit from taking time to unpack just a little of what it means for believers.
The Apostle Paul wrote –
‘For freedom Christ has set us free’
and he refers to the –
‘… freedom that we have in Christ Jesus’
When Dr Andy Bannister visited recently, he highlighted the importance of questions, so perhaps it’s worth posing a couple here. In considering a believer’s freedom two simple questions prove useful in helping to break it down:
- From what do believers have freedom?
- For what are believers set free?
Both Rom 6:18 and Rom 6:22 make it very clear that Christians have been set free from sin, and sin has the power to enslave. Jesus said:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin”
However, sin has another partner in crime, and this is death. Paul explains that sin came into the world through Adam and that death came into the world through sin and spread to all people because each sinned (Rom 5:12). The death Paul refers to is both physical and spiritual and is the penalty for disobeying God’s law.
Sin and death separate us from God. Not even God’s Holy law given to Moses sets people free, because the law is weakened by the sinful nature to the point where it becomes a law of sin and death (Rom 8:2).
There are a few things to consider when looking at sin:
- Sin can start small and may even seem relatively harmless at times. Yet it is deadly and can grow quickly.
- Sin can enslave a person and drive their behaviour (Rom 7:15-23).
- Sin in the life of one person can influence others and lead to mutual destruction (1 Cor 15:33).
Enslavement to sin and death is inescapable without Christ. But the gospel offers great news! In Christ, God offers an end to this slavery and extends freedom. People who are ‘in Christ’ through faith, are set free from the sinful nature which reaps destruction.
The New Testament shows that those who belong to Christ, or who are ‘in Christ’, have more to thank God for than simply being set free from sin and death. The freedom of a believer is so much greater than being released from slavery. (Gal 5:1) tells us that it is ‘for freedom’ that we have been set free.
Paul’s writings, especially in Galatians and Romans, naturally lead the reader towards another facet of freedom that serves to further enrich our understanding of the Christian gift of freedom. Freedom encompasses the right of enjoying all the privileges or peculiar rights of citizenship or membership; and when a person accepts Christ as Lord, they become a child of God.
“for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
Being a child of God means being a co-heir with Christ and thereby eligible for all the benefits accorded this position.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Believers, through faith in Christ are offered the free gift of eternal life in place of slavery to sin and death. What a wonderful exchange. C.S. Lewis said – ‘Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?’ The glorious freedom of a believer is for eternal life, and this is a life the believer doesn’t have to wait for.
… “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”.
Believers are free to ‘walk in newness of life’ and to be united with Christ in a resurrection like His (Rom 6:4-5). And that is no ordinary monochrome, monotone life. Instead, it is a life of the law of the Spirit (Rom 8:2), and this is the good news offered by the gospel. This life results not in fruit for death (Rom 7:5) like the sinful nature, but results in that which flows naturally from the Spirit, and this includes qualities such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
May you live a life of glorious freedom this and every week, enjoying all that God freely offers you ‘in Christ’.
Online Discipleship Facilitator
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