How free are you? Are you still conscious of sin? What rules do you follow in order to feel righteous? What things do you avoid, so you may appear holy? Who is Jesus Christ to you, and what do you believe about His sacrifice?
Yes, these are a bunch of questions thrown at you right off the bat, but they are important. Go back, reread them, and really focus on how you answer them. How you answer reveals what you believe and understand about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of you may discover you’re captive to religious rules, which have no bearing on salvation. You have yet to truly enter into His Rest. In short, you’re following religious dos and don’ts, and it’s wearing you out. Following them is a bondage in itself. There’s no freedom in it; especially, since it is not faith-based. As a result, some might say, “I felt freer as a sinner than I do now as a Christian” -though you may never admit it. It is a pretty strong statement, but how many of you feel that way, if you get honest? Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
The danger of opinions is many of them are not based on truth. In fact, many have no facts to validate their suppositions. Some actually sound good -if you don’t really consider what’s actually being said. It is so important to study the Bible, while allowing Holy Spirit to teach us; otherwise, one may blindly follow every wind of doctrine (opinion), and fall into religious bondage. It’s one thing look righteous, but it’s quite another to actually be righteous.
How do you become righteous; what rules do you follow? Being righteous has nothing to do with what you do, but is strictly based on the righteousness of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. As we know from Ephesians 2:8-10, our works are the result of who we are in Christ Jesus, which is by grace through faith. We are not doing anything to become righteous; we became God’s masterpiece, and do good works as a result (read the passage). So, if our righteousness is strictly found in Jesus, why would any of us strive to become righteous? It’s a sure-fire way to become religious. In the book of Galatians, we find there were believers who started out in the Spirit, but wound up trying to perfect themselves by the flesh (see Galatians 3:1-14).
Let’s briefly address sin. Be sure to study this out for yourself in greater detail, especially if you haven’t before. By receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have access to the New Man created in righteousness and true holiness (see Ephesians 4:24). At this point, sin no longer has dominion over us -over you (see Romans 6:1-23). Moreover, we should no longer have consciousness of sin (see Hebrews 10:1-22). By walking in love, we fulfill the Law. We’re not trying to avoid sin and hurting people, which is based on “Thou shalt not.” Instead, by focusing on loving God and people, sin and hurting others never becomes a consideration. Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. You do not have to sin, nor do you have to try to avoid it; it’s already in you to do what’s right in the sight of God. In short, because of your new nature, you will not actively seek to sin. 1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Do you desire to chase sin or please God? People have been known to blow it from time to time, and maybe this describes you as well. As a believer, was it ever in your heart to seek after sin? Of course, not. If you sincerely set out to willfully sin, you wouldn’t care, much less be reading this. Did you find yourself convicted by Holy Spirit anytime you thought, said or did something contrary to God’s nature? If you did, then you haven’t gone beyond repentance as some Scripture talks about (see 1 Timothy 4:1-2; Hebrews 10:26-39).
Clearly, freedom doesn’t mean you can do anything you want, especially as it pertains to the flesh. You are free to follow God and serve Him; to love Him and others well. You’re not only free from bondage, you’re free to be who God created you to be. Our sin was dealt with at the Cross. You don’t have to gain victory over it; it’s already done in Christ Jesus. Focus on loving God and people, and you will enjoy freedom in the truest sense.
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