WHAT IS TRUE FREEDOM?
By Elsie Ruiz
“Worldly freedom comes through what one can do on one’s own. God’s freedom comes through becoming dependent on the one who created the world so that all could be FREE to live as designed”
These words were so impacting to one of our Servant Leaders one day that she reached out to our lead pastor. Why, she asked, was there so much confusion in our society when it came to Grace; to understanding true FREEDOM in Christ? Even pastors, at times, were getting it wrong.
As Servants of the Most High God we, at World Prayr, have spent most of the last year studying this very topic. Our leader and pastor has been deeply blessed and led by our Lord to bring into the light the topic of GRACE. Oh, but what an amazing journey it has been! How we all have grown! And how our hearts desire is that each one of our readers is touched by God’s teaching on Grace. On this note, and humbled by the call to serve Him, I will address the topic above.
We all understand WORLDLY FREEDOM because we live in it every single day. We all understand clearly that WORLDLY FREEDOM is not without rules and laws. In order to live in peace we must have a set of rules by which we all operate so that as a society we can live in peace. We are guided by our MORAL LAW. This MORAL LAW is defined in our dictionary as; “a system of guidelines for behavior. These guidelines may or may not be part of a religion, codified in written form, or legally enforceable. For some people moral law is synonymous with the commands of a divine being. For others, moral law is a set of universal rules that should apply to everyone.”
When they are broken, peace is broken. We all know the consequences of people breaking the rules and laws. Just look at our families, our schools, our jails, our conflicts, our wars, just to name a few. To live in FREEDOM, we all agree, we need rules and laws.
NOW, how about GOD’S FREEDOM…have we ever contemplated it?
Remembering that we are NOT one dimensional creatures, but made of BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT, how about looking at our FREEDOM from a SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE? After all, our body’s will one day perish but our spirits will live forever. Being this the case, shouldn’t we be giving some more thought to this FREEDOM?
WHAT DOES GOD’S FREEDOM REALLY MEAN? Paul said in Galatians 5:1 “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.”
The people Paul spoke to over 2000 years ago were much like us today. Many did not understand what he meant when he spoke about FREEDOM in Christ. He understood that though they were believers, and accepted Christ, they seemed to forget their past. They were not clear on who they were and therefore did not understand what had really happened when Christ had set them free.
Much like us, we live our lives “doing”. The set of rules and laws we follow are dictated by our society, our nation, our religion. The chattering in our brain comes from the accumulative years of information bombarded into it which in turn we alone discern.
Then comes Christ! Understandably….radically….changing us! Bringing us NEWS that is unheard of. Breaking every way we operate. We MUST then put the brakes on in order for our lives to assimilate the information He brings lest we get lost and confused and make the grave mistake; to try to live the MORAL LAW along side Christ’s freedom.
Yes, we say…God set us free! This we understand in our minds. He died for us…We accept and surrender to this with our hearts…no doubt, but…each time we sin, do we try to do better? Be better? Feel guilty? Confess, again and again? With MORAL LAW, each time we break the law, we must pay some price. Is this how we see living in Christ? Is this really why Christ said “IT IS FINISHED”?
And here lies the gist of our problem…Paul’s Problem…when he wrote his letter to the Romans about GRACE.
When Christ on the cross said, “IT IS FINISHED” He said the words that set the world FREE! At that moment He conquered death. EVERY…and I mean….EVERY sin that man has ever committed, from the first man to the last, hung on the cross with Christ. And from that moment on this verse has applied, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Yes, Jesus opened the way to heaven for us, that we may live eternally with Him.
And sin? Sin is no more! This is where we must be very clear on who we are in Christ and what He did for us. Here is what Paul said in Romans about GRACE. Don’t miss a word!
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:8-14
Did we hear this clearly? We are “NOT UNDER THE LAW BUT UNDER GRACE“! Let me ask something. When we are no longer under the law, what are we? ________ Yes, we are FREE!!!!!!
When we accept Jesus it’s as if we die with Him on the cross. Every sin we committed, past, present and future dies on that cross with Him. From then on sin has no hold on us. We are no longer “under the law, but under grace.” His GRACE covers us forever and ever. In fact, every time God looks at us He sees His Son. I ask, if the Holy Spirit lives IN us, how can God possibly see sin IN us. How can sin be IN us. Where there is God there is NO sin. Where there is LIGHT there is NO darkness!
Does that mean we don’t/can’t sin? Or that we can now go on sinning? Of course not! Paul will explain it much better than I ever can;
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6:6-7
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14
When we fall in love and give our heart to someone, we yearn to know the person intimately, fully. We want to please them, never hurt them, be faithful to them. When we give our heart to Christ, we must do the same. If we take the time to go deep into Paul’s letter to the Romans we will find how he explains the fullness of this love. Going deeper into the Gospel is falling deeper and deeper in love with Jesus. We need to remember that when we read the Scriptures we will not only be reading His Word… His heart…we will be “hearing Him speak” into our hearts. This is true intimacy with Christ. When we experience true love we aim to please our partner. We would never say that we do things out of obligation or because we “have to”. We’ve all read 1 Corinthians 13 and seen the true meaning of love. “LOVE IS…”
The obedience to God’s MORAL LAW was not given to Moses for the purpose of…as many think…to punish and bring us to submission, or to separate us from God because we feel unworthy, or to make us feel guilty because we keep on sinning even when we try not to. It was given to Moses and to us to show that non can attain redemption on our own. The truth is that not one of us, no matter how hard we try, can ever come into His presence, (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23,) unless it is by accepting that we need Him in our lives. God’s MORAL LAW was given as a reflection of God’s character. It demonstrates to us our dependence on our Father and His loving Grace.
Grace, once accepted, is forever…eternal. Let us rejoice in true FREEDOM. The FREEDOM THAT COMES FROM ACCEPTING THE FREE GRACE THAT JESUS CHRIST OFFERED US ON THE CROSS. It is only then that we will be truly FREE to become the person God created us to be. FREE to fly like an eagle. Comprehending, that under any circumstance under the sun we will never grow weary because we will be under His loving Grace. Believing with all our hearts that, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
I will take advantage of this moment to let you know that if you would like to go deeper into the topic of GRACE there will be a booklet coming out shortly that will answer many of the questions that surround this subject. As I mentioned prior, our lead pastor and many in our team worked very hard in bringing to the forefront a one-of-a-kind Q&A on Grace. A formidable booklet that will answer practically every question you may have had on GRACE.
I encourage you to keep an eye out for “Walking in God’s Grace….Practical Answers to Tough Questions” Written by World Prayr (Energion Publications). It will be on the store shelves VERY SOON in order that we may be a beacon of light for Christ and continue in our mission of RECONNECTING A BROKEN WORLD.
Photo credit: Josef Grunig / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)