Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | May 31, 2016

Freedom in Christ!

You are Completely Free of all Condemnation

And what is even more important, as a Christian, you are an object of God’s unconditional love now and forever! You have been given the righteousness of Christ as a free gift; when the Father looks at you He sees the holy righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In “Your Death has Freed You,” we considered the implications of the crucifixion of our sin nature on the quality of life we live after salvation. Even though the sin nature has been crucified there is a struggle for control of our lives between our flesh and our spirit.

We can all attest to the challenges this struggle can present to us as our spirits seek to honor the Lord while our bodies seek to fulfill the lust of the flesh. Paul addresses this in some detail in Galatians 5:16-26 and his description of his struggle with sin in Romans 7:14-25 has always moved me deeply.

By God’s grace Paul’s journey through darkness at the end of the seventh chapter is followed by the bursting forth of a bright new dawn at the beginning of the eighth chapter where we are told, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

God’s grace has triumphed over sin and you are completely free of all condemnation!

God’s Promise of Future Glory

As Christians God has chosen to greatly bless us with a divine down payment on the glory He has prepared for us. By His grace we have been given, at the point of salvation, the very presence of God to live in us forever; God the Holy Spirit has joined with us in an unbreakable bond and will never leave us. In Romans 8:9-11 it is written:

“9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

This is a staggeringly wondrous concession on God’s part that should cause us to humble ourselves before Him in thankful praise; our bodies, a temple of God, the Holy Spirit!

Therefore!

In verse 12 Paul follows up this statement with his familiar “therefore” and tells us:

“12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

I believe it important to recognize Paul’s use of the Greek word, Ἀββᾶ in this context; Abba was a term used by a child in reference to their father; it is explained as follows:

5 Abbá – “Father,” also used as the term of tender endearment by a beloved child – i.e. in an affectionate, dependent relationship with their father; “daddy,” “papa.”

God, the Father, was no longer to be a fearful, judgmental ruler who dispensed fiery justice on all who disobeyed but a loving Daddy who deeply cared for His children and would work all things together for their good! This is a dramatic departure from the image of God that had been portrayed to Israel; from a severe and fearful judge to a loving Papa under the New Covenant! We had been adopted, as beloved children, into the family of God and shared in the glorious future that would surely come!

A Time yet Future

The world has always been a troubled place and that is most particularly true today but it has pleased God to let us remain on this sin cursed world as His representatives. Paul was most assuredly living in a troubled world and yet he was able to say in the following verses:

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

In the next part we will consider what it takes to live a life of freedom and joy during our time of service as His representatives to the world.


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