Bondage to freedom

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Slavery to sin

I have been living under so much pressure!   I have been trying not to sin – to lead a perfect life. I thought that’s what the Christian life was about – to live up to the “standards” of Christlikeness. Isn’t that what pleases God? To be more like Him – perfect?

Well, clearly and simply, it’s impossible! It’s impossible to please God through our perfection because we can never live up to that standard.

And so every time I sinned I felt like the world stopped and God’s judgment on me. It’s an awful way to live. In fact, it’s BONDAGE. Bondage to sin.

Freedom in Christ

What does freedom in Christ really mean?

Let’s begin by defining freedom. It means, according to Merriam-Webster, “liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another.” I love that definition! It means being free from bondage of the power of another. When God looks at us He doesn’t see our sins. He sees us as His chosen, covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, not as guilty. Romans 8:1 says, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Why? Because in verse 2 it says, For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

We are not under the law but under grace. We are no longer slaves to sin. Christ took the penalty for our sins, once and for all, on the cross. This does not mean we are free to sin. Galatians 5:13 says, For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. But when we do sin, we do not have to be consumed by it. We should not feel like failures, or as if we have to earn back our right to salvation again. Galatians 5:4 says, You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. When we fall away from grace, we have forgotten that Christ already took the punishment for our sins. We are relying on our perfection to maintain our fellowship with our Father, rather than accepting our freedom through Christ’s atonement. We do not need to be burdened every time we sin; we are already forgiven. But even so, it is important to ask our Father for forgiveness. We do this, not because we need to be forgiven, but to mend our fellowship with our Father (because when we sin we break that fellowship).

Jesus Christ is the foundation

Jesus is the foundation. We are simply building on it. Everything we do should be for Christ – to further His kingdom. Since living a perfect life does not put a single building block on the Foundation, then what does? As believers it becomes not about the right and wrong we do but about what we’re doing for Christ that is so important. Those are the building blocks. Our works (and the use of our spiritual gifts).

Works for Christ and rewards in heaven

1 Corinthians 3:12-15:

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

We, as believers, will not be judged for our sins since they are already forgiven, but we will be judged for our works done for Christ. Being genuine is a must, because the Lord will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).

Conclusion

It’s not about what we’ve done against Christ (sin), but what we’re doing for Christ (works). When you change your perspective from pleasing God through sinlessness to pleasing God through loving and serving Him and others, there is freedom!

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