Christianity possesses the greatest power on earth. Within the teachings of Christianity are all of the things you need to know to set you free, because freedom is in Jesus Christ.
Apart from Christ there is no freedom and there can be no freedom. Apart from Christ there is only bondage and slavery.
Look at the world around you. Who in this world is truly free? Any person who is confined under law, fear and bound up by the passions of human nature cannot be truly free. All people in this world are in bondage because true freedom can only be found in Jesus Christ. That is what these few verses of Paul are saying too.
Most of this section of scripture talks about the unmarried being able to remain in control of their natural desires of a man for a woman, and it says that if they cannot be in control they should marry.
But there is a principle that is snuck into the end of this section that is worth investigating for it pertains to how we are set free from the law by the death of Jesus Christ. The verse I am referring to is:
A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 7:39)
There is a sharp distinction between our life in Jesus Christ and living in this world. There are two sets of opposing powers at work that significantly affect and impact every person on this planet.
On the one hand there is the spirit of this world. This world today is ruled by the devil and his designs are for the destruction of mankind. His work is to ensnare and enslave all of mankind to their detriment and destruction for he is opposed to God and trying to destroy all that God has created.
And on the other hand there is the opposition to the devil. The spirit of God and Jesus Christ who stand for all that is good and right and true. The intent of the works of God through Jesus Christ is to reconcile man to God so that we can again live in harmony with the Father and the Son.
The difference between these two positions as far as mankind is concerned is defined and explored in these few verses and it is revealing when we see what they say.
This scripture would have to be one of the most quoted verses amongst Christians in the bible. And yet it is also one of the least understood. But when we understand the power of these words and the blessing that the Lord has bestowed upon us in the unselfish and obedient act of Jesus who died for us, then the wonder of the power of God becomes even more astounding.
Every person at some time in their life has done something of which they are ashamed and they wish they had never done. As a result they suffer from pangs of guilt whenever they think about this thing, whatever it was, and they suffer from self-condemnation.
Now there are plenty of people who will condemn others on the basis of their own standards, and for the most part they can be ignored. But we struggle to ignore the condemnation we heap on ourselves for what we recognise as our own shortcomings. And too often we ignore or forget the condemnation that comes from God when we fall short of His glory and fall into sin.
But these first few verses of Romans 8 change all of that for they are powerful words of transformation, specifically the transformation that now only becomes possible in and through Jesus Christ. Continue reading “No Condemnation”
The challenge that faces all of humanity is their inability to exercise self control in all things. Oh sure, people can exercise self control over many things, but everyone has a weakness or two that will take hold of them when they least expect it and do not want it to happen and …boom! They fall apart and do the very thing they hate.
In my last post I wrote about how Paul suffered in this way from covetousness in his early walk with the Lord and before coming to Jesus. And he is not alone for every person has their own personal set of weaknesses to which they have and will succumb if the conditions are right and they are at a weak point. Let’s face it, even Superman had kryptonite! Only Jesus was able to exercise self control in ALL things and only Jesus conquered the passions and desires of the flesh and lived a life without sin.
But Jesus did all of that for a reason, which we need to take notice of. Jesus suffered in the flesh and died so that through His death we could come to God and be set free from sin and the law. But he did much more than that in the sacrifice he made for us and we need to take this lesson to heart. Continue reading “Thank You Jesus”
They abolished slavery several hundred years ago. At least they did in most western civilisations and those civilisations where rulers had compassion for their people. And this is a good thing.
But despite that fact we are all slaves. Every person on this earth is in the bondage of a slavery like no other, for we were all sold under sin many, many years ago and there is nothing we can do about it.
There is no payment we can make, work we can do, gift we can offer or anything else on this earth that can buy back our freedom from this slavery. We were born slaves and because of this slavery we will die slaves. The slavery I speak of is the bondage to sin and we are very fortunate to live in this time and age for although we cannot do or pay anything to buy back our freedom, Jesus has done it for us.
In my last few posts I have looked at the prime focus of the death of Jesus and the purpose of His shed blood. That purpose was to set man free from sin and to release man from the power of sin, which is bondage to the law. It is by baptism into Jesus’ death that we receive the free gifts of freedom from sin, freedom from law and righteousness by faith. And these are given by the grace of God to those who have faith.
But this is not the end of the process. It is only the beginning and only the start of the power of the death of Jesus and what He did for us in this act of obedience to His Father.
What we see in this section of scripture is an appeal to go beyond these first steps. Paul is appealing to those who come to Jesus in faith to move forward and not remain captive slaves of sin but obedient to God.
What is the greatest gift of all? Well a really great gift is when you get something that you need or want without asking for it. But even better than that is when you are given a gift that you need AND you don’t deserve it.
But the greatest gift of all is the one that God gives to mankind for He has given us something that we both need and want, something that we do not deserve and something that we cannot get except as a gift from God. He has given us the gift of life. Not just life now but the offer of life with Him into eternity.
And the best part about this gift is that we did not deserve it and yet God still saw fit to give it to us. What we see in these scriptures is how great a gift this is, what sacrifice had to made to give it to us and the great love that God had for man in t.he hope that man would seek His gift and Him with it.
There is a chorus we sing in church on a regular basis which goes like this:
For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things…
The chorus was written around the words in Romans 11:36, but if ever a piece of scripture bore out those words it is this section of Romans 4.
This website and blog are titled the Free Gift From God and those words too are made clear in this short section of scripture in Romans 4. For it is made abundantly evident what and how much we have been given and what we do for it in these few verses.
One of the promises of The Lord is that He will give us a protection that is not afforded to the people of the world. When the people of the world get into trouble they do not have a safety net to catch them if they fall. But The Lord is the safety net for Christians.
Depending on the circumstance or the issue facing the Christian, the nature of the protection afforded may be quite different, but it is always there. There is always a means of protection given by The Lord for his people.
In this section of scripture we see two of those methods of protection that The Lord gave to Paul and how they worked to achieve the will of God in Paul’s life.