“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Freedom in Christ

“All things are lawful for me.” (1Cor. 10:23).
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1Cor. 6:12).

What freedom does Paul speak of? Freedom from sin? Yes. Imagine it. Paul wrote, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14).

Under the power of grace we are free to praise God, free to walk humbly, free to love sinners and to hate sin, free to cry, to rejoice, to be the full image of God and to know the full purpose of our creation.

“They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jn 8: 33-36).

Here we see that true freedom consists of being loosed from the hold sin has had on us. How is this accomplished? Through faith in the power and operation of God alone. Faith that brings us to justification, which in turn brings us to sanctification. Faith that trusts in God’s mercy out of which comes the thrill to obey Him. Free from self-indulgence. Free from temptation and thus free to serve God.

We cannot serve two masters; and while we are captives under Satan’s delusions we cannot know and serve God. We are all His, or we are none of His and all of His enemy’s. We are not our own.

But He yearns to receive us to Himself, and His Spirit follows us and gets our attention all the time. And when we’ve had quite enough of the lusts and the self-indulgence and the descent into the animal kingdom that characterize the service to Satan, then it is that we consider the Lord’s loving offer to our soul, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (Jn. 5:6).

It’s a high standard and a high privilege we can have.

In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God. DA p. 466.

Freedom from sin brings freedom from self. Self is no longer in control; God is in control. In this loss of control of self we find the greatest self-control because then self’s control which we surrendered to God, He gives back to us purified and enabled through His love. It is the very principle, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25).

Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery. He is not allowed to see the beauty of truth, for his mind is under the control of Satan. While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment, he obeys the will of the prince of darkness. Christ came to break the shackles of sin-slavery from the soul. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” sets us “free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2. DA p. 466.

When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end. DA p. 324.

That last part scares me. Does it scare you? But His language must be strong, because “the fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” (Prov. 14:27).

There is another freedom with the power of the Holy Spirit that comes as a byproduct of justification and reconciliation: freedom from unholy fear.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14,15).

“In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Ps. 56:4).

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Ps. 118:6).

Like our Master we walk above the stormy seas that sink others around us. We stand up a Rock. All fear of man, all his prohibitions are gone, and all our inhibitions are gone. Walking humbly with God, His prohibitions now rule us and our inhibitions are to Him alone. God’s children exude a confidence that others see and feel the need to follow. We have a boldness that pushes back the influence and armies of the adversary.

“For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.” (Ps. 18:29).

“He maketh my feet like hinds’ [deer’s] feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” (vs. 33).

Those who abide in Christ and His words abide in them are filled with all the fullness of God. They walk with God.

“They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Is. 40:31).

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Heb. 11:33-38).

It’s a high standard and a high privilege we can have.


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