July 04, 2011

Freedom! II

Yesterday, I looked at a few verses on the Biblical expression of Freedom in Christ.  Today we are going to look at Ephesians 3:12, and then tomorrow, the oft misquoted Galatians 5:1.

As I started to describe yesterday, when the Biblical authors wrote about "freedom"  they were not always talking about freedom from sin.  There are at least three other ideas they had in mind, and if we pay attention to the text of the letters in which they expressed these ideas, we can see what they were talking about.

In Ephesians, Paul is writing to a young Church again, and his main agenda is to expound for them the idea that they are reconciled to God and how to live in such a glorious truth.

When we get to chapter 3 verse 12, we hear Paul say,

"In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence."

The freedom we have in Christ is something that must have seemed incredible to the first century Jew, or anybody familiar with the Jewish God.  For centuries, the JEwish God had made it necessary for His worshipers to come before him through the mediation of the Priestly Levites, or a "called out" prophet.  Rituals which God Himself had prescribed had to be followed to the LAw in order to come into His presence.  To look upon the Lord or even His throne with impurity was a death sentence.

We even read that in the Old Testament narratives, men died for touching His Ark.  Those who captured it and treated it unworthily suffered agonizing plagues.  His own people were not allowed to set foot near the mountain of Sinai when the Lord came down upon it to speak to Moses.  To meet with God was an unbelievable privilege, but an insurmountable danger for those not fit to do so.

Then comes Christ - with a message of peace from God to men.  Those who are granted repentance and granted faith to believe are granted the privilege of meeting with God and coming into His presence whenever they want as long as they do so in Christ.  They have immediate and unhindered access to the Lord God Almighty.

When Paul writes verses 12 of Chapter 3, he is sharing one of the greatest treasures of the human experience. It is echoed in almost every greeting and benediction in the New Testament in one way or another:  "Grace to you and Peace from God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ."  We no longer have to fear coming before God.  He has made a way through Christ.  We are no longer seen as trespassers or unclean broken, vessels of impurity.  Christ has given us His righteousness and thus freed us from the wrath of God.  We are coheirs with Christ.  Sons and daughters of the King.  We are His Children and His Family.  What an incredibly unbelievable idea this must have been for the first Church.

Some still don't realize the gift today.  We are free to come to our Father even in our brokenness and shame.  When the rest of the world points at us and condemns us; when the rest of the world gives up persevering with our frailty, Christ bids us come confidently into His Fathers presence and know the Peace that He paid for.

I am free.  If you understand this truth, then you are free.  I hope you live in this freedom today and for the rest of this life.   If you put this together with the freedom we talked about yesterday, then you know to celebrate this freedom by becoming more like Him through the Washing of the Word.  We look into it's perfect guidance and live moment by moment knowing that we are being renewed in knowledge in the Image of our Creator.  That is True Freedom.

You are an Image Bearing Disciple of Christ, and you are freed from the hindrances that once kept you from knowing Him.

With you for His glory