Phil Cox

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Freedom - Part 2

26th June 2009

Last week's column was about freedom. I think I need to say a bit more about this before we move on. I wrote about what real freedom is, and now I want to write about how to live in real freedom.

The first thing to understand is that we cant be free from all influence, we have to choose.

Romans 6v16-23
Dont you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can be slaves of sin, or we can be slaves of righteousness servants of God. Or we can compromise shuttling back and forth between the two. That is a miserable way to live.

Jesus explained how to find real freedom - real life. He said we need to stop trying to look after ourselves, and follow him unreservedly:

Mark 8v34-36
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"

The Greek word translated as "life" here is psyche. It's often translated as "soul" or "heart". It mean the real you - who you are inside.

Who are you really?

You can only find out by following Jesus, giving up your own attempts to justify yourself, and to defend yourself, and trusting God to grow you, so you can become what you have the potential to become, and live as you really are.

True freedom is freedom from sin:

  • from the penalty for sin which is death
  • from the power of sin, as we are liberated day-by-day by the work of the Holy Spirit as we follow Jesus
  • from the constraints of sin so that our psyche can grow and not diminish.

Living for yourself, for pleasure, or money, or reputation or power, diminishes your psyche.

Following Jesus, taking up your cross day by day, living a life of obedience and service, expands your psyche - it grows you as a person.

Then you can know real life.

Its actually impossible to make a sacrifice for Jesus, because he always give back more than you give him. Jesus said:

Luke 18v29-30
"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no-one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."

We can feel like weve given everything up for Him, but were guaranteed to get much more back both in this life and in heaven.

We become slaves of God, and it sets us free! Free to be the people God designed us to be!