A Living Hope: I am free

By nature, the word salvation implies that we are saved from something. 

The Gospel isn’t a self-improvement program. It is a liberation movement.

And liberation is only needed if I am a slave.

The truth is that all of humanity is enslaved to sin. The word sin means to “miss the mark”; we are by nature law-breakers and fail to meet God’s perfect moral standard.

“For all have sinned…everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin…for whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (Rom 3:23, John 8:34, 2 Pet 2:19).

Let’s talk about the “s” word

By its very nature, sin is a ruthless tyrant; a cruel master. It is deceptive, powerful and infectious. It oppresses, enslaves and destroys everyone in its path “for the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).

Everything that hurts or harms, everything that causes grief or loss or pain is caused by sin.

Sin is my enemy. Not circumstances or people or my spouse or the government.

Sin is what destroys my heart, my soul, my body and those I love. It is the author of pride, selfishness, bitterness, deceit, fear, shame, guilt, conflict, betrayal, abuse, violence and death.

Everything that hurts or harms, everything that causes grief or loss or pain is caused by sin.

The answer to our problem

Sin separates us from God (Isa 59:2), infects everything that is good and ultimately destroys us.

I am utterly helpless under sin’s rule, forced to give in to its every whim, demand and desire. I cannot free myself from its merciless and destructive tyranny. No amount of self-discipline or religious rules will help me overcome my sinful nature.

Only God, who is sinless, can overcome sin.

Jesus came to abolish sin because it was and is the greatest threat to mankind. 

God took the initiative to deliver those who were powerless to help themselves.  Jesus came to save people from their self-destruction and take away the power and rule of sin (Matt 1:21, 1 John 3:5). He came to redeem souls which means to set them free from bondage. Jesus, who was sinless, paid for our sin on the cross “so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Rom 6:6, 2 Cor 5:21).

The resurrection proves that I am free. Sin no longer has power over me.

For it was for freedom that Jesus set us free (Gal 5:1) and those who believe are free indeed.

As believers, we have now been given authority and power over our “old selves” – our sin, impulses, rebellious desires and selfish bent. God provides us with His supernatural power to resist sin and live a life pleasing to Him.

What does this mean for me today?

I can say no to sin. Sin’s power is now dead and lifeless in me. I am no longer obligated to obey its every command. God provides me with the power to control my thoughts, emotions and actions regardless of the situation. I don’t have to give in to sinful desires or feel crushed by the weight of my circumstances. God gives me the power to say no to temptation every time.

Instead of being bitter, I can forgive. Instead of worrying, I can pray. I can choose to be honest instead of defensive. I can say yes to God and no to sin.

But if I am free from sin, why do I still struggle to do what is right? Even though I have been set free from sin’s destructive reign, there is still a war that rages within. This verse sums it up best:

It was for freedom that Christ set you free; therefore stand firm and don’t subject yourself again to slavery…For you were called to freedom, only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity [to sin]…But I say walk by the Spirit and you will not sin. For the flesh [old nature] sets itself against the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition of each other so that you may not do the things you please…If we are [free] by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:1, 13, 16-17, 25).

Jesus redeems my soul but the redemption of my physical body comes later. For now, my body still suffers from sin (Rom 8:23). My old, sinful nature will still tempt me to do things my way. But every time I am tempted, God promises to give me a way out (1 Cor 10:13) and the Holy Spirit does the following:

  • convicts me of sin in order to lead me to repentance and forgiveness
  • provides supernatural power to resist every temptation
  • gives me the desire to obey God’s Word
  • provides the ability to live a life that is pleasing to God

The church isn’t a body of saints; the church is full of sinners saved by grace. It’s only by God’s grace (not our own religious works or self-reliance) that we can be free from the reign of sin and have the power to do what is right.

I must choose who I will serve. In order to have victory over sin, we must understand that salvation is a transition from one type of servitude to another. God delivered His people from slavery into sonship.

Just as we were saved from something we were also set free to something. 

We have been freed from one master to another; from the slavery of ruthless sin into the service of a good, divine King.

We were created to worship and serve something. As believers, we now have the ability to “choose this day whom [we] will serve” (Joshua 24:15). God makes it simple. There are only two choices. Only two masters, two kingdoms with which we can align ourselves.

Will I choose to obey the One who set me free? Or will I subject myself again to slavery which will only lead to more misery and loss? I must decide who gets my allegiance for I cannot serve two masters (Matt 6:24).

I can live for God. God gives me a new nature through the Holy Spirit, one that is bent toward God. If I give into the temptation to sin, it will always bring destruction, corruption and death. But if I obey God and do things His way, it will always bring growth, fruit and abundant life (Rom 6:23).

Change is possibleBecause Jesus is alive, there is hope for the present and future. I am not stuck in a certain lifestyle or miserable situation. I am not doomed to more of the same. My past no longer defines me. The resurrection has made it possible for my thoughts, feelings, behavior, character and life to change. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead also lives inside of me (Rom 8:11).

“[Jesus] transforms the hateful and the angry into loving, caring people. He changes the selfish into generous givers and the immoral into men and women of character. The resurrection raises us from the death of sin to a life of righteousness” (Jack Graham).

In AA, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem and that you are powerless to change it. It works the same with Jesus. In order to experience real, lasting change, I must first admit I have a sin problem and that I am helpless to fix it or overcome it on my own.

I must ask Jesus to take charge of my life because I will always make a mess of it.

Growth is a process. Growing a plant doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. It requires planting, watering, cultivating, pruning and care before it produces an abundance of fruit. God does it all from start to finish as He transforms us and makes us more like Jesus.

The death of our sinful nature may feel unnatural and painful but it always results in new life. As believers, much of our time on earth will be spent putting to death our self-centered thoughts, desires and behaviors. “For if you live according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13).

If I continue feeding and cultivating my sinful nature, I will only destroy myself and my relationships. But if I yield to the work God is doing in my life, even when it’s painful, it will cultivate fruit that will bring life to all those around me.

“Therefore…let us strip off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2).

Because of the resurrection, I am free from the power and rule of sin in my life. I am free to say no to temptation and obey God. I can choose to use my freedom to serve God and live for Him, which will always produce the fruit of the Spirit. As I continue yielding to the Holy Spirit’s work in my life, I experience the power of God and reap the abundant, Spirit-filled life Jesus promised.

Did you miss the other posts in this series? Check them out below!

A Living Hope: rediscover the power of Easter

Day 1: I am forgiven

Day 2: I am secure

Day 3: I am free

Day 4: I am alive

Day 5: I am fearless

3 thoughts on “A Living Hope: I am free

  1. Have enjoyed all three of these blogs and look forward to the rest. Each one presents so much truth so clearly that I need to think about over time. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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