John 8: 31- 36 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, `You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Freedom

We love the movie “Braveheart” in our house. We have since the beginning. William Wallace fights for the freedom of his country. He is tricked, betrayed and left to be martyred in public. At the moment of climax in the movie, he is given one final opportunity to submit to the king, but instead he cries, “Freedom” with every ounce of strength he could muster. It’s so inspiring.

Yet Hollywood can not even compare to the freedom we can find in Christ. We as Americans understand freedom better than almost any other country in the world. We are afforded so many freedoms. But what so many don’t understand is that the very things that we do with our “freedom” makes us slaves.

Many I think falsely believe that being a Christian means that they can’t do anything fun. It will be a life of dullness and dreariness. Others mistakenly believe that they have freedom in Christ to do whatever they want because God will forgive them. Yet the Scripture is very clear.  (And sorry this is so long, but freedom in Christ is hard to explain clearly and very important also.)

Romans 6:1-14

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

Basically Paul was saying that at one time we were all slaves to sin. We could not stop from sinning. It is impossible to be perfect. Yet, Christ in his life demonstrated perfection for us. And through his death, he gave us access to the very spirit of God, so that we too could have the ability to be free from sin. Not by ourselves, but through Christ. Since He died for our sin, we no longer have to serve that part. So we no longer can and should just go around sinning, simply so we can be forgiven. John Piper says on these verses, “We are justified by grace through faith alone because of our union with Christ whose righteousness is counted as ours. And now we see that this same union with Christ explains why we will not continue in sin.”

Paul continues in Romans 6: 14-19

” For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”

John Piper says of these verses, “In other words: Don’t desire sin as much as you desire God. Don’t desire sin’s lie as much as you desire God’s truth. When it comes down to the conflict between the desire for what sin offers and the desire for what God offers, prefer God. Which means that one great strategy of living the Christian life is to set God and his ways before us as our treasure – as preferable.” Much like a person desiring to lose weight, the cookie loses its desire if the weight goal is strong enough. Both are desirable, but the more desirable will win out.

John Piper also addresses the issues of the being under grace versus the law. “What does it mean to be “under grace” but not “under law”? My answer was that being “under law” means that we are bound to make lawkeeping the righteousness by which God justifies us. “Under law” means that justifying righteousness comes from our own lawkeeping. On the other hand, being “under grace” means that our justification is a gift of grace on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s lawkeeping, Christ’s perfect obedience of faith (including his atoning death).”

So where does this freedom in Christ come from? In comes from being freed from sin by Christ. Piper states, ” We’ve been asking why being “under grace” guarantees that sin will not be master over us. Reason one: because under grace, the wrath of God is entirely removed and the power of God flows to us in saving, helping, keeping mercy, not punishment. Reason two: because under grace, paralyzing guilt is taken away and we are given hope that it is worth it to fight sin. Reason three: because under grace God himself comes into our lives and inclines our hearts away from sin and toward righteousness.”

So when God has us on His side, we have the freedom to be in His will; His perfect and pleasing will. What a great God we serve who is willing and able to free us from the burden of sin!!!

For more information on John Piper’s Ministries, go to : http://www.DesiringGod.org

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