September 05, 2011

Do You Have Freedom or Something Else?

How do you know if you are experiencing true freedom in Christ?

I want to make this as black and white as possible (because Scripture does) for those who struggle with bondage, or for those who are trapped in bondage and need the light of Scripture to shine on your shackles and open for you the way to true freedom and joy in Christ.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave His life for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing."
Galatians 2:20-21

There is freedom in the Gospel.  If you live under the weight of shame and guilt for past sins, you probably haven't experienced the Freedom that Christ offers you through reconciliation.  Think about that word, "reconciliation".  We have been reconciled to God through the blood of Christ.  It is the Grace of God that sets us free to live to Him.  Are we sinners?  Yes!  Are we perfect yet? No!  Can we move forward in the grace of God anyway?  Yes!

"Clearly, no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The Righteous will live by faith."  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them."'
Galatians 3:11-12

Shame that condemns is produced by illegitimate guilt brought on by a guilty conscience or ignorance.  Legitimate guilt comes from God for the purpose of producing repentance.  True repentance produces fruit in accordance with Scripture:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  These are evidenced in the midst of adversity when their manifestation is demanded by Scripture, and distinguished from false fruits that disappear when adversity strikes.  There is no guilt or shame here, because against such things there is no law (*vs. 23).  True freedom brings real fruit, which in turn brings more freedom.  False fruit brings false condemnation, which leads to more bondage.

"Before this faith, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.  Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law."
Galatians 3:23-25

If your life is an attempt to regulate behavior and eradicate sin by administration of the law, then you are not free.  "Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?"  (Galatians 3:5)

You either believe what Scripture says, or you don't.  If you do, you live in the freedom of Grace.  If you don't, then you live in the bondage of the law and you are not saved.  If you live according to the law and claim to be saved, you are living a lie.  Repent.  Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and let Him lift you up.  Stop trying to lift yourself up.    What is it that Scripture says?

"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this (faith) is not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God, not a result of works, that no one may boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith is believing that God has completed the work and that He is working in you  (and others = not your responsibility to transform) toward His intended purposes and will not let you go.  True faith produces true guilt over sin.  True guilt produces repentance.  True repentance produces fruit.  True fruit changes you from the inside out.

If you live under the weight of shame for sin, cry out for freedom.  You don't have to live with it.  CHRIST DID NOT DIE FOR NOTHING!

If you are busy pointing out the failures of other people, you probably haven't experienced true salvation, because that is not how the redeemed love.  If you are busy trying to replace sinful urges with "better" activities, then you probably haven't experienced salvation, because activities don't replace urges, new urges do.  If you are busy trying to sterilize your life from evil, then you probably don't understand what Christ has done and what is His to do and what very little is yours, because the redeemed focus on and think on what is good, lovely, noble, trustworthy, praiseworthy, etc.  Nothing you do can bring about salvation or force salvation upon others.  If you think this might be you, pray for freedom.  Read Galatians, and praise God for His mercies and faithfulness.  I look forward to seeing you and hearing you experience true freedom in Christ!

With you for His glory