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Friday, August 31, 2012

If the Son Sets You Free, You Will be Free Indeed

If the Son Sets You Free, You Will be Free Indeed
John 8:36
The Bible tells us that when we know or believe the truth that we will be made free.  “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) And the Bible also says that “truth” is Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is the “Truth”.    Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  (John 14:6)   Scripture says that God has made provisions for Christians - you and me to be alive and free in Christ.  But if this is true, then why are so many Christians living in bondage to fear, depression, and sinful habits they think they can’t break? 
Many Christians aren’t living the “good life” that God prepared for them in Christ.  They aren’t living in the freedom that is theirs. They may not have been taught that that freedom in Christ is really for them, or how to appropriate it. 
A woman can have a million dollars in the bank, but if she doesn’t believe she has it or she doesn’t invest it or spend it, it won’t do her any good.  And the same with us.  Our heavenly Father has given us many promises in the Bible and when we find a promise in the Bible we need to claim it.  When we find a truth in the Bible we need to believe it. And when we find a commandment we need to obey it. Don’t sit around and be neutral! Repent and believe and claim the truth that will set you free.
Our enemy Satan does not want us to be free.  He wants us to be in bondage to sin and fear.  He will try to lie to us about our freedom in Christ.  And whisper negative thoughts and doubts into our minds.  Satan is a deceiver who works undercover and his strategy is to lie.  But the truth of God’s Word exposes his lies.  That is why it is so important to study God’s Word.  Satan’s power is in the lie, and when his lie is exposed by the truth, his plans are foiled.  So we need to believe the truth in the Bible and resist Satan’s lies.  Scripture says:  “Submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7)
Is this passage saying that Satan can not drag us into his darkness if we submit to God and resist his tempting?  And what does “submit to God” mean?  Satan’s first lie to Adam and Eve in the garden was telling them that they could be like God.  They didn’t need to obey or submit to God, they needed to run their own lives themselves.  And Satan continues to deceive all of us with that same old lie.  To submit ourselves to God means to deny self rule and invite God to take the throne of our lives- to occupy what is rightfully His.  We were not designed to function independently of God. Denying ourselves (repenting of our sins) and coming under Gods’ rule is essential to spiritual freedom.
Jesus said: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it: but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it…” (Matthew 16:24-25)  To deny ourselves is to do our best to turn our backs on the sins we hang onto.  It’s letting go and letting God.  Dying to self –to our ego- is the major battle of our lives.  The world has a self-centered perspective and Christ is asking us to reject that materialistic worldview and give our lives to Him.  If we “save” our lives by living for things and for self we will eventually lose out.  But if we lose our lives for Christ we will live the good life now and afterwards we will live eternally with Him.    
While we are on this earth, if we are Christians we will be involved in a spiritual war.  The kingdom of God is a major theme in the Bible but it has to be understood in contrast to the kingdom of darkness.  There is no need for the Christian to defeat the devil.  Jesus Christ has already accomplished that by His death and He has you and I covered.  But you may be asking why then do we have to be in a struggle since our position in Christ is secure and He has already defeated Satan.  Even though Christ has won the victory and our salvation is secure, we still need to do our part and be His witnesses in this world.  If we don’t try to live the Christian life we don’t lose our salvation but our fellowship with Him is damaged.  
The Bible teaches that believers in Christ have two natures. The Bible says that the nature we are born with is a “sin” nature.  Just as a kitten is born to meow, and a horse is born to run, we humans are born to sin. But the moment a person believes in Christ, he gains a new nature (in addition to the old one) by spiritual birth. (John 3:6-7 and 2 Pet. 1:4)  The new nature cannot sin and loves God. But the old sin nature is still there when a person gains the new nature in Christ.
And that is where the problems come in! These two natures inside the Christian are focused in opposite directions so it’s a perfect setup for a battle.  (Gal.5:17) (Rom.7) Scripture says that we will have our old sin nature until we die.  Only after we die will we not sin.    
So when we become a Christian we have a choice.  Which of our two natures are we going to take care of – the old or the new one?  Christ calls us to “make no provision” for the old nature (Romans 13:14) and deny and resist and flee temptations. (Titus2:12 James 4:7 and Timothy 2:22)  Christ tells us to “crucify” the old nature.(Gal.5:24)   
And what do we do to take care of the spiritual nature we received when we believed in Jesus?   The Bible tells us to submit our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and be led by the Spirit (Gal.5:18) and yield ourselves to God. (Romans 6:13 and 19)
 You see even though Christ has washed us and we are clean – as long as we live on this earth we will still get our feet dirty as we walk about.  So we will still have to keep on putting down that old sin nature till we die. And live into the new nature that has made us children of God.
But when we choose to submit to God and try to turn from sin, the Bible tells us that we gain freedom from sin.  (Romans 6:14-15, Romans 8:2)  And we gain freedom to choose. (Romans 6:16 and 2 Peter 2:19) We receive the power to change. (Romans 6:16 and Phil.2:13)
And the promises in Scripture that are for us continue on if we believe in Christ.  We are free from condemnation. (Rom.8:1-2)  Free to find grace and mercy in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)  We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 2:6)  God is always with us and will take care of us. (Isaiah 41:10) We may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Eph.3:12)  We cannot be separated from the love of God. (Rom.8:31-34)  We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. ((2Tim.1:7) We are the salt and light of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)  We are free to be God’s coworker. (2 Cor.6:1)   Free! Free! Free!!! The Bible promises for us go on and on.  There are so many and they are all so amazing!  And all we have to do is believe them – claim them- live in them! We’re living the good life!  Since Christ, the Son of God has made us free, we are free indeed!  (John 8:36)
Some of the ideas in this blog were taken from Neil Anderson’s book, The Bondage Breaker.     

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