Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are We As Free As We Are Led To Believe?

Imagine a prisoner was just set free after years of captivity. He comes out into the freedom of life, able to work and earn things, able to enjoy family and friends, able to go for a walk whenever he felt like it. Now imagine that same prisoner deciding to turn his back on that freedom, to walk back into prison because he preferred it in there; he would rather be in captivity then enjoy his freedom. There are a number of people like this because the captivity is what they are familiar with whereas the freedom is too strange and uncomfortable.

This is what it is like for many of us who are in Christ Jesus. Jesus came to set us free from the longest captivity known to man. There was not only the captivity of sin but also the captivity of the law. We may think we are free but we have this terrible mindset toward captivity. We allow ourselves to remain a slave to sin even after Jesus has given us a choice. We also enjoy the captivity of the law, preferring to live by rules that we think are earning us something with God instead of accepting the freedom Jesus has given to us by God's grace.

We accept this freedom at first but it feels so unfamiliar that we slowly go back to what we know. We rely on things that we think are earning us favor with God. It could be good deeds, reading the Bible, going to church, paying tithe, being part of the worship band, preaching on the street or even behind the pulpit. If we think these things are earning us anything then we are developing our own law to live by. These things can only be the fruit that comes from our relationship with Jesus, they cannot be the source of our salvation. Salvation is by faith or it isn't salvation. We have freedom because it was given to us not because we earned it.

Paul stated to the Galatians:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

It is good to to examine ourselves to see if we have been slipping back toward that prison life we are so familiar with. There are no church rituals, whether it is baptism or communion, there is no fruit of the Spirit, whether it is speaking in tongues or giving sight to the blind, that can save us. Only Jesus brings us the freedom of salvation and it is only received by faith. By faith I mean simply trusting that it is true and it is done:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

Justified by faith not by works. Works is the the fruit of our salvation.

So go ahead, check yourself out. Ask God to be honest with you and to convict you of anything that you are treating as a source of salvation. Be willing to see if you have slipped back behind the prison walls of the law. It is for freedom that Jesus has set us free, so stand in that freedom and do not allow anyone or anything to take you back into captivity.

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