Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

If there is one word that expresses the battle cry of the 21stcentury, it’s FREEDOM. The current Arab Spring and our localized Black 505 are simply glimpses of human heart seeking freedom of expression. Minorities wanting freedom from the exploitation and racism they had felt for centuries. Children wanting to be free from parental supervision and authority. Workers wanting more freedom in determining their working conditions. Church goers wanting freedom from the stifling and rigid form of institutional churches. In short, if a man loses his freedom, it makes little difference from what other possessions he might have. Yet, undoubtedly, for much of the world’s history, most of its population has experienced slavery in one way or another, that of either the body, the mind or the spirit. 


Slavery Has Many Faces

One doesn’t have irons around his legs to be a slave. The crowd to whom Jesus said, “if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” John 8:36, were not standing there in shackles. In fact, they were the ruling elite of the nation of Israel. Their response to this straight forward rebuke showed how little they really realized their inner condition of heart. Jesus went on to explain to them that their bondage was an inner one. They belonged to Satan. In this lesson, I would like to show how the redemptive work of Christ by His water and blood unshackled mankind and allowed God to give us freedom from 1) a tyranny of our inborn natures of sin 2) the principle of law with its demands for obedience or death 3) the sadistic slave master of men, Satan.


Freedom From the Power As Well As The Penalty

There are two aspects to the freedom which the redemptive work of Christ has made available to men. First, we have been set free from the penalty of sin by the death of Christ for us. 1 Cor 15:3. That took care of removing the barriers that separated us from a holy and a righteous God.  Secondly, His death also has provided for a daily deliverance of believers from the power of sin. To make this possible, Christ died, not only for sin, but to sin. Rom 6:10. This means that He forever put away from Himself the enemies of men’s souls, and so Paul tells us on that basis we should consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Rom 6:11. 


A Closer Look At Our Freedom

To understand fully the far reaching implication of this new liberty, however, it must be kept in mind that at the instance we believed in Christ, the actual and legal authority of these 3 great enemies of the believer was judicially severed. The control and power has, in fact, ceased over us depends entirely upon whether we have claimed the victory and depended on the indwelling Holy Spirit to deal with their attempts at illegal access to us again. For we must realize that, these are vicious and adamant enemies who are relentless in their efforts to regain their dominion they had over us. As long as we are still alive, they will be constantly at us, so we can never relax around them and let down our guard. However, God has a provision for all our needs. God never intended for us to have to deal with the pull and lure of these tempters. So into the “new self” which He has made us to be in our resurrection with Him, He put the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. It becomes the job of this indwelling Holy Spirit to deal with the temptation of the old sin nature, the Law and Satan. 


The Old Sin Nature

The old sin nature is that predisposition toward rebellion against God with which we are all born. It’s the old sinful Adamic nature that we have inherited from Adam. This nature is sometimes referred to as ‘sin’ in the singular. That’s the way Paul uses it in Romans Chap 6,7 and 8, referring to the sinful nature. It’s also spoken of as “the flesh” in some passages. The sinful nature is the enemy’s agent working inside us that constantly being energized by tactics of Satan to keep us from living holy and victorious life. One of the favourite tactics of Satan in trying to keep believers enslaved is to get them on the treadmill for trying to live for God by keeping all God’s Laws. I know that this tends to put the Law in a bad light, but the Law isn’t the real problem. Those sinful passions or sin natures that gets stirred up by the Law are the problem. Now, you might be wondering why God gave the Law. Well, first of all to show man what sin is, secondly to provoke men’s sin nature to sin more, thirdly to drive us to despair of self effort and finally to lead the unbeliever to Christ and the believers to the Holy Spirit for His empowering. The Law takes the unbelievers by the hand and leads them to Christ for salvation. The Law also takes the believer by the hand and leads him to the Holy Spirit who is the only source of power to be and to do what the Law demands. When this progression is finished, the Law is finally done with the believer because it has been replaced by the giving of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and actually produce the results of the law in and through us. However, even though the law is through with us, we won’t let go of it. In place of the Law of God, we have substituted man made rules and taboos for how to live the Christian life. Instead of teaching people how to walk in the Spirit, it’s been easier to pass a few rules prohibiting this behavior and that. All this has served to do is stimulate the sin natures of the believers. It has never produced holy living and it never will. However, it would be folly to go around telling believers that they are no longer responsible to keep God’s Law unless we also told them about the grounds of their deliverance from it. 


The Spirit Replaced The Law

The real freedom comes when we submit ourselves to the moment by moment control of the indwelling Holy Spirit and allow Him to empower us to live for God. God wants us to know that we no longer have to give in to the demands of the sinful nature, that we are no longer under the Law and that we have been liberated from the authority and dominion of Satan. The ransom was paid by Jesus and we have been set free from the slave market of sin. The only slavery for us now is our willing slavery to Jesus out of love and gratitude.


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