Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Free to Be Naughty or Nice!

I wanted to wrap up my series on Freedom In Christ, by trying to pull several things together from this study of Galatians into a one-lesson-definition of what freedom in Christ really means. Whether or not I accomplished that goal will be left up the the listeners (you can hear it on the church web page). One of the most challenging questions I tossed out, after struggling with it myself all week, came after quoting John 8:32 &36. We all know these verses even if we can't always remember where they are. Jesus said, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Then in vs.36 he amps things up a notch with, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
We love these verses and can't even hear them without shouting "Amen!" But, here is the question: If it is so wonderful to be free in Christ, why do so many of us think of being a Christian as restrictive? Why do we tend to think about all the things that our faith doesn't "allow" us to do anymore? Why is our walk with God so often defined by what we can't do, better not do, and "shame on you" if we do?
Obviously, Satan doesn't want us to think about sin as enslavement. That takes away it's appeal. But Jesus was clear, "Everyone who sins is a slave to sin." (vs.34) His appeal is that in Him we become sons and sons aren't slaves anymore. That is the exact same argument Paul made in Galatians 5 and Romans 6. When you are not in bondage to sin, you are free in Christ! But that's the answer to our Challenge Question isn't it? Paul said that in Christ we have "crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires," but maybe we haven't really done that. When our passions and desires are still in control, freedom in Christ looks like Stop signs rather than an open road.
Here is the key: Freedom in Christ is only real freedom if we truly have a relationship with Jesus. Without that honest and seeking relationship, we're just church goers, image builders, and unhappy hypocrites! We have just enough church and worldliness to be miserable in both. Freedom comes from truly understanding grace and being drawn to a loving God and Savior.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Just need you to now how much I appreciate your thoughts. Even more, I can hardly wait to put my feet under you table, take a deep breath, and eat more than I could possibly need. I love you brother! So glad to be part of the family:)