Thursday, 10/10/19 – Discipleship – Freedom!

Free for all…

“Jesus said, ‘… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’ Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’” (John 8:31-36).

woman in maroon shirt with black chain on her body

One reason more people do not flock to Jesus for salvation and freedom is they, like these folk, do not realize they are enslaved. “We… have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

But being under the dictates of a physical taskmaster is only one way a person might be enslaved. We can be enslaved by circumstances, living conditions, illness, memories and regrets, compulsions or obsessions, spiritual bondage, fears, a vengeful heart, guilt or other matters of conscience.

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair

Without Christ we are all “slaves to sin,” filled with worry, purposelessness and a fear of death.

Without Christ we are also slaves to the only nature within us, the carnal nature. Ultimately it produces actions (or “works”) such as these: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Gal. 5:19, 20).

But Christ gives us a new “nature.” He gives us His very own!

photo of pathway surrounded by fir trees

The child of God has a choice! A new nature works within him “to will and to act” (Phil. 3:13) as God desires — in ways we were created to be, and do — ways which give us the greatest joy and fulfillment. Scripture calls these ways “fruit,” and like fruit they grow and develop effortlessly, are beautiful to see, and provide nourishment to others. You’ll find a starter list in Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22, 23).

The duty of the new or seasoned believer is to choose the new nature over the old nature at every crossroad of decision. We are called to swim against the current of this fallen world, our own depraved urges of the flesh, and the schemes, wiles and temptations of the devil – that old and desperate liar with a gripe against God.

The Christian’s freedom is in having this choice, and the enabling of God’s Spirit. Then the more he chooses rightly the more he will be transformed, desiring the good more than the evil.

Paul exhorts us to be strong in this,

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery… / You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh… / …walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:1, 13, 16-18)

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’” (John 8:36).

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

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