March 24, 31 - 1 Corinthians 10, John 8:31,32; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Matthew 5:16
"You're Free, So That" and "All to the Glory of God."
Nailed to the cross, Christ set us free. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Therefore stand firm in that freedom, not enslaved to old patterns of sinful behavior that drag you and your friends into the mire. Is this what happened to the Israelites after being freed from Egypt? Were they just so happy about being freed that they forgot what got them there?
The truth about Jesus’ death on the cross and what that means for us sets us free. As we continue training ourselves in His word, we become more and more free… free to obey His commands. The commands that bring life and abundance of life. That is the unique and biblical understanding of freedom. Prior to hearing His word we were enslaved to doing only what we know to do by our sinful nature.
Paul asks an incredible 14 rhetorical questions in chapter 9, so I guess the message should pretty obvious… but is it? It boils down to realizing that the biblical idea of freedom and the idea of freedom we have come to embrace in America are simply not the same. They are both great, but they are not the same. Here’s why: sometimes to love means giving things up for someone else’s well-being. i.e. I am free to make sacrifices for the sake of others, especially when it helps promote the gospel. I am not enslaved to things having to go my way. I’m not even enslaved to having my American freedoms enforced for the sake of the gospel. How do you see this confused in our American culture?
This means I am not enslaved to the desires of my heart being satisfied.
But wait! Doesn’t the psalmist say that God will give me the desires of my heart??? (Ps.37:3,4) Indeed it does, in one the most conditional promises of Scripture. And the condition? That we are feeding on His faithfulness, and genuinely delighting ourselves in the Lord. How do you feed off of His faithfulness? Then and only then is our heart in any condition to be granted its yearnings…
And so the next fair question to ask is, “Are we really free to trust our hearts?” The answer to that is an emphatic NO. My heart, unaffected by Christ you see, can be desperately wicked. My heart in lock-step with Christ, now that is a different story.
Jeremiah 17:5-11 (9) Let’s not, in Disney like fashion, follow our hearts. Let us trust in the renewing work of Christ in our hearts and minds. As it turns out, our identity is not made up of the sum of our desires.
We have been set free SO THAT we learn how to live in such a way, so as to win others to Christ. There is a lot of winning in these verses. We are freed for a purpose, the purpose of winning some to the cause of the gospel. We have been set free by the gospel, for the gospel. Since we have been set free so that we live IN SUCH A WAY as to win, there are certain things we must do to ensure victories – this is training not trying. Train and control your body for the purpose of the gospel and some will be won to Christ. We are free NO SO THAT we just do as we please, but we are free to do as He pleases.
There is training to be done if the race is to be won.