LIVING FREE AND SILENCING THE CRITICS

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LIVING FREE AND SILENCING THE CRITICS

Today I’d like to begin with a little dive into the realm of fantasy. Imagine if all rules were lifted, there are no laws, no consequences to your actions; you are free to do whatever you want, whenever you want, money no object; what would be the first thing that you would do? Really, honestly, go on and thing about it. What would be the first thing that you would do?

Then how would you live out the rest of the week? How about the month? The season? The year? Would it be more of the same?

You know, the fact is, when Jesus said to the Jews who believed Him,

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

He was revealing to us the extent of our freedom from sin, its power and its consequence; a truth that we have never and probably will never be able to get our heads around. You see, He said,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:34-36

We have all committed sin. And so, there was a time when we were slaves of sin. And when we were slaves of sin, this was our reality.

“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” Romans 7:15 [MSG]

“I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.” Romans 7:19-23 [MSG]

It’s like we were ‘hypnotized’ by sin, our members and appendages controlled by sin, operating on their own, not listening to reason, and committing the very sins that we are so ashamed of. No matter how hard we tried, we could not stop it. In fact, the harder we tried, the worse it got. That’s what being a slave to sin is – not being able to say ‘no’.

But now, things are different for us who believe, aren’t they? When we fill out minds with Jesus, when we remind ourselves that

“…He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

When we rely on the Holy Spirit,

“…whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26

We soon realize that we can now say ‘no’ to sin, ‘no’ to the temptation, and truly stand up for the fact that

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Even saying ‘no’ to sin.

Did our will strengthen? Not at the least. It is the Spirit working in us that gives us that strength to fight the temptation. So when Jesus said,

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

He certainly meant it. We are free.

But did you realize that we have a double claim on being free? We do, because Jesus came so that

“…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

Not only has the Son set us free, we ourselves have been made children of God, and look where our place is in our Father’s house.

“…a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.” John 8:35

So not only are we free, our place is to abide in our Father’s house, forever.

Now, here is the implication, and the source of the problem. Whatever sin you commit henceforth, it has no consequence in the eyes of our Father.

Yes, you read it right. In His eyes, we are guiltless, because of what Jesus has done, because of the death that Jesus died, because of Jesus’ blood that was spilt, we are no longer guilty in His eyes. For

“He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:10-12

So past sins, current sins, future sins, they are all removed. For how can Jesus’ sacrifice be only applicable to past sins? If that was the case, then we might as well wait till the moment just before we die before we accept Christ? Illogical, isn’t it?

Nonetheless, I understand that this is a difficult truth to get our head around because the implications are mindboggling. Yet, the proof is in the pudding, and it is when we experience the power to say ‘no’ to sin, that we will know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we have been saved. So Christian, if you have been able to say ‘no’, even once, then you are certainly saved.

Now, this opens up a whole Pandora’s box of worms, doesn’t it? Because now, we are essentially given ‘license to sin’, free reign of anarchy. So how do we reconcile this freedom with living a good and Godly life? How do we silence the critics who say,

“So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving?” Romans 6:1 [MSG]

Well, the solution is simple, really;

“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” 1 Peter 2:15-16

You can, but you don’t. You could, but you won’t.

You know, if we take an impassionate, unspiritual, atheists view on sin, we will realize that God really doesn’t need to punish us for sin. The inbuilt consequence that this natural world has placed in the sin is punishment enough.

I mean, think about it; can you name one sin that has no consequence? Whether it be emotional, physical, psychological or even social consequence; you name it, it’s there.

If you lust, your mind gets disturbed. If you act on your lust, people around you get hurt. Marriages start to break down. And if you are not careful, there could even be tangible effects on your body. God really doesn’t even need to bother to punish us for sin. He just needs to do nothing and sin will get the job done.

So from here, you realize that

“As a Christian I may do anything, but that does not mean that everything is good for me. I may do everything, but I must not be a slave of anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 [PHILLIPS]

For “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 [MSG]

Never mind ‘spiritually appropriate’, some things are just downright inappropriate, whichever way you choose to skin that cat, true?

So, “As free men you should never use your freedom as an excuse for doing something that is wrong, for you are at all times the servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16 [PHILLIPS]

You know, beloved child of God; we will never be able to fathom the depths of our Father’s love for us, the love that keeps us loved, no matter how bad we have become. But when you have a revelation of that love, let’s not make our Father’s job any harder than it already is. Let our expression of gratitude be a life lived to do good.

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