I Am Free

Words of Grace  

It is particularly sad when the church becomes a merchant of bondage for the people of God.  The message of the gospel, from beginning to end, is a message of freedom.  By going to the cross, Jesus destroyed the power of death and sin, overcame the law, and set us free.  He is the Conqueror, and He has redeemed us from the hands of the enemy.

One day we will wake in glory to discover that there have been no shackles on our hands or feet.  They were a lie.  They were there once, but were destroyed by Christ when He saved us.  The bonds have been gone as long as we have known Him.  The chains you have been feeling are in your mind.  You are free.

Free from the condemnation.  Free from the power of sin.  Free from the Law.  Free from the expectations and standards and opinions of others.  Free from guilt and shame.  You are free.

So live in that freedom.  Defend it.  Believe in it.  The only One who holds power over you is the One who set you free and He loves you.  Don’t let anyone take it away from you, whether it is a teacher or a pastor or a parent or a spouse or a ruler.  Paul wrote to the Galatians that they should stand fast:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

Whenever someone teaches freedom, someone else will jump up and say that we shouldn’t just let people do whatever they want.  They get all worried that people will do terrible things under the excuse of being free.  The only problem with this is that people do terrible things even when they claim to be under the law.  Just because you are free to do something does not mean that it is good for you or that there will be no consequences.  Dumb things are still dumb things.  There are many good reasons not to do the things God calls sin.  But there is still no bondage of law over us.

Listen.  It is possible and even good to limit your freedom for the sake of others and for the cause of Christ.  That doesn’t make you less free.  Sometimes people cannot believe their freedom because they live under expectations and challenges.  You are expected to go to work every day if you want food to eat.  Well, you are still free.  You don’t have to eat.  You choose to work so that you can eat.  Choice comes out of freedom.

It’s hard to feel freedom in a difficult marriage or in a dysfunctional family.  It’s hard in a restrictive church or country.  But these are outside things.  You can live within chosen confines and still be free.  Remember what Paul said:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more       1 Corinthians 9:19 (NKJV)

“Even though I am free, I have made myself a servant.”  Paul chose to do this for the sake of the gospel and the sake of the lost.  He kept the law that was no longer binding to him.  He served people who were no longer his masters.  He obeyed rulers who no longer had authority over him.  He lived his freedom within their expectations to accomplish the call of God on his life.

Are you in a difficult marriage?  Live in freedom even while choosing to live under the expectations.  Are you in a demanding job?  Live in freedom even while doing your best to meet the requirements of your boss.  Are you in a compromised or legalistic church?  Live in your freedom even among those who have yet to discover theirs.  No one else has to change in order for you to be free.  You are free.

I am free!

Jesus has set me free.

No power has authority over me, other than Him.

No bondage holds me back.

I am free.

5 Comments

Filed under Freedom, Grace definition, Words of Grace

5 responses to “I Am Free

  1. UnForsaken

    This is a Wonderful holiday post!!! The freedom of Mind the Jews tried to practice in POW camps during WWII has always struck me as the kind of resilience we should strive for in Christ. (And that oddly comes to mind when I think of visiting some N relations!) We will overcome and we Are, right now, free. Thanks Dave for this humbling reminder! After all, we’re just as human as our Ns, but they have not chosen to be mentally free. Looking to Christ to free my mind is the only way I will have victory from becoming like them, and to become more like Him !

  2. I do think I have to agree that legalism, and not lasciviousness, is far and away the damaging sin of the church. But we hear all the time (at least I do) about the need to walk a straighter straight and narrow. BE better; be on guard; protect yourselves not just from sin, but from the “near opportunity to commit sin,” and every time we move our own lifestyle restrictions further and further outward with disapproval of anyone who seems to walk too freely in grace, we get farther and farther from the environment that lets us love one another “genuinely, from the heart, with all purity.”
    I am finding that healing is coming slowly for me now that I have left my legalistic church. I am still with my husband, who is in psychological counseling. I am detached but at peace with the formerly very close friend who pretty much used me up and tossed me aside at will. He is broken deeply himself, and I can now see that his terrible social skills and lack of empathy are a part of his brokenness. I can love him at arm’s length, and hope that one day he will get counseling, when he is ready to face the pain that it will expose. Maybe one day he will be able to think less of himself and love other people rather than just consume them. But for now, he just simply can’t.
    But just escaping the church with all its expectations of what bondage they would put me under is strengthening me to walk in freedom and grace while sorting out what will become of my relationship with my husband. I still don’t know if he is trustworthy, or ever will be. It will take a long, long time to know–it has to be tested and proven, and he took me pretty much as far as we could go in breaking me, hurting me, stealing resources, putting our family on the very margin of ALL things–finances, emotional wellbeing, physical wellbeing–before beginning to show signs of repentance. So trust is not fully established. But I feel strengthened to make hard choices and decisions if I have to again, and to know that God’s grace will hold even if God’s people condemn me for the choices and decisions my husband could push me to have to make, if his repentance isn’t real.

    Legalism was killing me. It is so very harmful to people. Jesus had to come to redeem us from sin. But he also had to free us from the bonds of legalism or none would survive the days here.

    • UnForsaken

      Repol, I have left a legalistic background as well, and even in rejection have sought and found victory….Blessings on your way!!! I wish I could reach out and hug you right now; someone Is at your side, mentally anyway! Every word of what you just said is True, and as you keep focusing on Christ, He Will carry you through. I hope you have a truly happy Christmas in the knowledge that you are in the center of His hand !

  3. Fellow Survivor

    Repol. I hear what you are saying. My path is different than yours but we both struggle in this world. You are not alone.

    • Thankful for both of you, FS and Unforsaken.
      I hope you can find joy this Christmas. I caught a glimmer of it in a Christmas song this afternoon. It isn’t as readily apparent as it once was–flowing out of me–but at least it is there. A smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

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