Monday, July 4, 2011

It's Independence Day, but are you Free?

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
As Americans we celebrate our Independence. We declare our liberty with fireworks. But sadly, many who partake in this festival of freedom are in fact in bondage to a master, more powerful and cruel than any nation or king.

They are slaves to sin. They are bound to serve it's lusts and desires, and to ultimately suffer the condemnation that is sentenced against those who are held in its grasp. They may parade themselves as free men, but they, and their eternity, are bound by curse and destined for Hell. They may sing and dance, but only at the end of their chains.

The irony of the matter, is that it is our love for independence that keeps us from being set free. We all want to be autonomous; subject to nothing and no one, masters of our own fate, sovereign over our own lives. We are kings. We are rulers. We are judges. We are without hope.

Our Fall into Bondage
We were not made for ourselves, but for God. Adam and Eve rebelled against this, when they first sought to elevate themselves and become like God. (Gen 3:6) Their fall brought sin into the world and subjected us and the world to its curse and condemnation. (Romans 5:12) We now stand before a Holy God under the guilt of sin. The sentence of Hell is our just punishment, for we have violated God's law and have earned its reward.
For the wages of sin is death, (Romans 6:23a)
Unlike our great nation, our freedom can not be won or gained through independence. No, we must be set free, released from our guilt by him whom we have offended. Our freedom must come as a result of mercy, and not justice, for it is under justice that we were condemned.

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) 
God in his great love, has shown us his mercy in sending his Son to suffer the punishment of our sins on our behalf.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) 
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
If we are to be forgiven and set free, it must be on God's terms. We have nothing, and can do nothing, to earn or to offer in exchange for our lives. It is only through Jesus and his death, burial, and resurrection, for the atonement of our sins, that we can be reconciled to our Heavenly Father.

This fourth of July, while you celebrate our nation's independence, let us not neglect the greater matter of our dependence upon Jesus Christ for true freedom that last into eternity.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Whose Salve are You?
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?  
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations.  
For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Romans 6:16-19)

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