It's an awesome thing to be free in Christ - more awesome than you may have even previously thought.
As we celebrate Independence Day in the United States, we are reminded that our freedom from tyrrany is dependent upon the courage of those who have fought to establish and preserve a free country for us. In the same way, we are fully dependent upon Christ for the freedoms He has procured for us. Namely, the freedom from the penalty of sin.
However, there are other freedoms we have in Christ that we sometimes overlook. Six came to mind for me today - three things we are free from and three that we are free to pursue - all because of Jesus. I hope you'll be encouraged as I share them with you.
Freedom from Guilt
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)
Think about that. No condemnation. Think of Jesus standing by the woman who is about to be stoned as He challenges those "without sin" to cast the first rock. As the accusers peel away one by one - aware of their hypocrisy - He simply asks the woman: "...where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" He goes on to say, "Neither do I condemn you..." Just think what it must have meant to her to experience the immense freedom she received in that moment. That same freedom from condemnation is yours - every second of every day.
Freedom from Shame
"Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." (Romans 10:11)
I don't think it would take much to convince you that we live in a culture that perpetually celebrates its fallen nature and is consistently pursuing to put to shame those who seek to live for the glory of God. For many, it feels like they must continually fight the urge to give in, retreat or stay silent when our culture is constantly shaking a rebellious fist against our Creator. But keep this in mind: The world has no power to put you to shame. That power belongs to God alone. He is the one who has bought your freedom, He alone is the author of salvation, and He has declared that if you have trusted in Christ alone, He will never put you to shame. While the world will always threaten shackles of shame when you seek to live out your faith, you'll find they simply fall off when you turn to the Lord for strength. And in this strength, you'll find that you are able to join in with the Apostle Paul and proclaim, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16).
Freedom from God's Wrath
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thess. 5:9)
If you've placed your trust in Christ alone, then your salvation is certain. You eternity is secure. You are free from the wrath of God and forever welcomed as His child. For you, He has moved from judge to Father. Have you ever heard better news than that? Go ahead, take a moment ... I didn't think so. Why not walk boldly in that freedom and live a thank-you life to Jesus that shines His light into a world that desperately needs it more than ever?
In addition to things we are free from, and therefore no longer need to fear, there are three things we are free to pursue - and they are just as awesome.
Freedom to Approach God with Every Need
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6)
While even those closest to us may tire of hearing of our desires and needs, God has no such limitation. He is always willing to hear, and even better, to work for your good according to His will. That is why we can bring even our most desperate needs to Him "with thanksgiving". We do not serve a God who only listens; the Creator of the universe is for you. You can bring every need to Him without any anxiety about how He may receive it. Because of this, we can "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
Freedom to Follow God's Will in Our Lives
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)
Following after the will of God isn't always associated with freedom, but it should be - always. We are no longer enslaved to the bondage of sin; to decisions that result in heartache, injury, offense, and worse. As a new creation in Christ, you have the freedom walk a better way - a way that was previously unavailable to you. We are free to live boldly for Christ and to accomplish the good works He has prepared for us before we even knew His name. To be on assignment for Christ is an awesome privilege and a freedom that should never be taken lightly. Walk in this amazing freedom!
Freedom to Be Certain of Our Eternal Destiny
In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2-3)
If you have trusted in Christ alone, you can be certain of your salvation. We'll keep this one simple and let the words of Jesus do the talking: "...if it were not so, I would not have told you."
As you celebrate another Independence Day in America, take some time to recall these amazing freedoms as you celebrate your independence from sin's penalty.