What does it mean to be “free in Christ”? Truly it means our sins are forgiven and we are no longer under condemnation. Amen. And, if we are in Christ, by faith in him, we, thus, have the hope of eternal life with God in glory. But, is there more to this freedom than that?
The Lord Jesus led me to read Galatians 5 (Select vv. ESV).
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. V. 1
We read these words in Romans 6:6-7:
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are not only set free from the punishment of sin, but we are set free from slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin. We die with Christ to sin so that we might live with Christ to righteousness. The old has gone, the new has come. Now we walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh; no more to gratify the sinful cravings (lusts) of our flesh, for if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins.
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. Vv. 7-10
But, how many of us are actually walking in that freedom? How many of us are really living what we say we believe, that Jesus gave his life up for us to set us free from slavery (addiction) to sin? How many professing Christians, who began well with Christ, have since fallen by the wayside, and have adopted the ways of the world again? And, are not living much differently from those who make no profession of faith in Christ Jesus at all?
What voices are we listening to? From what sources are we getting most of our input? You certainly know the saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” What we allow into our minds every day is what helps to shape our thinking and believing. It is what shapes our morals, attitudes and actions, as well.
Yet, understandably so, some of what has shaped our thinking and beliefs has come from what was put into our minds early on in our lives, over which we had no control. But, even then, now we can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal wrong thinking and believing to us, to show us the lies we have been believing, and to open our minds to what is truth, so that we can put off the lies and put on the truth; so we can put off the wrong thinking, and put on right thinking, which will result in right actions.
But, this is why we should not be unequally yoked (joined) with unbelievers, either in face to face relationships, or via online relationships, or via what we choose to watch (view) and/or listen to on TV, the internet, video games, or via the music we listen to, etc. And, this includes the churches (the organizations) we attend, as well. Not everything going by the name “church” is the body of Christ, the bride of Christ. So, be wise!
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Vv. 13-15
Many preachers and teachers of the Word these days, at least here in America, are giving the notion that faith in Jesus Christ does not require repentance or obedience to Christ. They are teaching a diluted gospel intended to appeal to human flesh.
Thus, they have, in essence, removed the cross of Christ from the gospel message, because they do not teach that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. They don’t teach that faith in Jesus Christ means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and that we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, they don’t teach that if we walk (conduct our lives) in sin (sinful practices), that we will die in our sins.
So, many professing Christians have this notion that they have heaven guaranteed them when they leave this earth, but that they don’t have to change their lifestyles or get rid of their sinful addictions, because, they believe, that is all now covered by God’s grace.
But, God’s grace to us is not free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs (commands) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. vv. 16-21
Another lie which is being promulgated throughout the church is that we are all still living in Romans 7, but they forget, or they choose to forget, that Romans 7 is in the context of Romans 6 and Romans 8. Jesus already won this battle for us! He set us free from our addictions to sin via his blood shed on a cross for our sins. We can live in freedom from slavery to sin. Satan no longer has power over us! Jesus Christ made the way of escape! We just have to take it! We just have to put on that armor of God daily!!
Since so many profess faith in Christ, but have never been crucified with Christ in death to sin, that explains why so many professors of faith in Christ are not walking in freedom from slavery to sin, because they were taught they didn’t have to. They were taught they could just acknowledge Christ, accept his forgiveness, claim heaven as their eternal destiny, and go on with their lives. But, we cannot walk in the Spirit if we don’t have the Spirit, and we don’t have the Spirit, if we have not been crucified with Christ and then raised with Christ to walk in his righteousness.
So, first we must come to Christ, humble ourselves before him, repent of our sins, and turn to walk in obedience to him. All this is the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we yield control of our lives over to God and we choose to make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives. Then, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and he will empower us to walk by his Spirit and to not fulfill the sinful cravings of our flesh. We just have to let go and let God. We just have to yield to the Spirit’s control, and follow our Lord’s leading, and do what he says. Then, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Vv. 22-24
When we are walking according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, the fruit of the Spirit should now be evident in our lives. I am not saying we will instantly be perfect, or that we will never sin again, but that, as we yield control of our lives over to the Spirt, and by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Spirit should be what shines through in our lives, and more and more as we are daily yielding to HIM.
An Original Work / May 30, 2011
“Fill me with Your Spirit;
help me to love others;
Let me know Your power;
be an overcomer.
Show me how to follow
Jesus Christ, my Savior;
Be His faithful servant
to obey Him always.
“Lead me with Your presence;
help me know the right way;
Teach me love and kindness,
Give me grace and courage
to be Jesus’ witness,
Teaching His salvation
to a world who needs Him.”
Won’t you come and follow
Jesus Christ, your Savior?
He died so you’d be
free of control of your sin;
Free to follow His ways
in complete surrender;
Living sacrifices –
let His grace transform you.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 4:02 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. Thank you for the freedom that is ours, in Christ Jesus, our Lord, from the control of sin over our lives, and that we can now walk in victory over darkness, and in the light of your truth. Amen!