Humans do some awful things, don’t they? A story on 60 Minutes about the impoverished nation of Yemen was heartbreaking. War has brought starvation to thousands. A UN official said that unless there is a break in the fighting a whole generation will die from starvation and childhood diseases for which there is no medicine available. Cruel men trick young women into sex slavery where they are used to serve the pleasures of those who are rich. Recent headlines about powerful men exploiting women to satisfy their lust disgust me. Hate, cruelty, selfishness – yes, I recognize the reality of sin’s dark impulses that tempt me, too. I want to be different… and I am!
This Thanksgiving, I rejoice in a glorious truth – that I am free from the sins that once were my master! Are you liberated? The Word catalogs sin and declares of those in Christ – ‘that is what you were.’ Those who are alive in the Spirit through faith in Christ Jesus can speak of depravity in the past tense. Paul urged the Corinthian Christian who were refusing to grow in holiness to take their birthright. “Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, The Message)
Yes, we rejoice that because our Liberator has come, we now can choose to live nobly, to serve God, and to defeat dark depravity. “Jerry, I am tempted and I fail,” you may be objecting. Yes, we do, but not because we are without choice! The struggle remains but unlike those B.C. days, we are now free to choose the right, the good, the holy.
The Word’s Truth says “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. … But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. … we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 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.” (Romans 8:9-17, NIV)
Grasp this. You and I, in Christ, are now servants of God, with an obligation to live by the power of the Spirit. What a difference that will make! All the church work and religious liturgy in the world cannot replace the amazing joy of sharing in God’s glory, released from shame and guilt to live freely.
In the century that followed Jesus’ time here on the earth, Christians traveled to the far corners of the depraved, cruel, ugly world that was the Roman Empire. They met prostitution, slavery, injustice, and poverty with acts of love. They served the least, the lost, the broken, the powerless. The Spirit working through them brought light and life, hope and joy, to millions. They were known for their compassion. Were they applauded and admired? Not by those in power! The sinful recognized the threat of the Gospel of Christ and killed Christians by the thousands in a vain attempt to put out the Light. But, history testifies to the power of the Jesus message. Christians who were free to serve changed the world.
Christian, our world waits for the beautiful message of freedom from sin.
Let’s not just tell, let’s show the way to be free to love, free to serve, free from slavery to sin, Self, and Satan.
Will you reach out to our Abba, take your freedom, and then pray for the power to live in a way that you bring liberty and life to others?
Like Jesus you will encounter evil and those enslaved will hate you just as they hated Him. But remember, “if we share in His suffering… we will also share in His glory.” Let’s go change the world, one life at a time.
Here is a word from the Word … “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (Galatians 5:1, NLT) “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13, NLT) “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” (Galatians 5:16, NLT) “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)
Oh, the glorious freedom of the children of God.
So long I had searched for life’s meaning
Enslaved by the world and my greed
Then the door of my prison was opened by love
For the ransom was paid I was freed
I’m free from the guilt that I carried
From the dull empty life I’m set free
For when I met Jesus He made me complete
He forgot the foolish man I used to be
I’m free from the fear of tomorrow
I’m free from the guilt of the past
For I’ve traded my shackles
For a glorious song
I’m free praise the Lord free at last
Gloria Gaither | William J. Gaither © 1968 William J. Gaither, Inc. (Admin. by Gaither Copyright Management) CCLI License # 810055
CoffeeBreak will be back online on Monday, 11/27.
If you are local to Washington, NJ you are invited to Faith Discovery Church for Thanksgiving Eve celebration.