Freedom in Christ
Freedom in Christ
God Transforms Lives: The Best is Yet to Come!
Isaiah 61 gives us a powerful insight into God’s transforming power.
The promises of this chapter were made to the Jews returned out of captivity, which extend to all those who, through grace, are delivered out of spiritual doom! So this message is for you and me, Friend.
An unholy soul is like a city that is broken down, and has no walls, like a house in ruins; but by the power of GOD’S GRACE, it is fitted to be a habitation of God, a Kingdom of glory and beauty. These are the words Jesus would use to proclaim the transforming power of His Kingdom on this earth!
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…
To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
TO BESTOW ON THEM [You and I, Friend ] A CROWN OF BEAUTY INSTEAD OF ASHES, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the LORD, love justice; In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
Total transformation is what God does in your life when you surrender to Him. He changes your motives. He changes your drive. He changes your values. He makes you compassionate. He touches you so you can talk to other about Him. He makes you a witness of His glory and power so can reach other for the Kingdom of God.
When Jesus Christ truly comes into our lives, He takes up residence. And He doesn’t just do a basic housecleaning; He does a thorough one. There is real, total, deep transformation. But when a house has only been swept, that is, when someone has made only moral changes, he or she is still vulnerable to the enemy. Did you know, you could be good without God, you can live a moral, ethically right life, and still end up in hell?
If the power and the presence of God has not been manifested in your life, and continues to be manifested every day, you are not walking with God.
This is why we must recognize the futility of simply turning over a new leaf or making a few new resolutions. We must realize the problem is deeper than our moral sins. We must get to the heart of the matter and have Jesus Christ take residence in our lives and change us from the inside out.
For the person who has made a mess of his or her life—a pile of ashes, God says, “I will bring beauty.” For those who mourn because of the wrongs they have done and the sins they have committed, God says, “I will bring joy out of it.” For those who have been rejected, hurt by others, God says, “I will bring healing into your life, festive praise, instead of despair.”
Only God can do that; only He can take a tangled mess of a life, turn it around, and transform it in such a way that you would not even know that individual used to be a whole different person. God is not into the recycling business, he is into the total transformation of broken lives.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 the following: “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with [Christ] gets a FRESH START, is CREATED NEW. The OLD LIFE IS GONE; A NEW LIFE BURGEONS! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through [Christ], giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. GOD HAS GIVEN IS THE TASK OF TELLING EVERYONE WHAT HE IS DOING. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: BECOME FRIENDS WITH GOD; HE’S ALREADY A FRIEND WITH YOU.”
What a magnificent description of God’s passion for you and me, Friend! God is your friend! God is longing to bless you, give you peace and rest!
If you come to Christ today and say, “Jesus, here I am. Forgive me of my sin, cleanse from my past life, mend the broken pieces of my life… heal my pain… I surrender to you, Jesus…” He can transform and change you totally!. God can take your mistakes and your sins, and the hurts other people have inflicted on you, turn them around, and even use them for His glory. When you commit your life to Christ, putting the broken, stained, twisted pieces into His hand, He will transform it into an incredible piece of Divine art!
Jesus Wants You to be Free
Until you believe that God does everything RIGHT you won’t find peace in your heart! Every single event of your life, good or bad, is being managed by God if you are His follower. (Romans 8:28)
When you surrender to God, He takes your past, your entire life, and transforms it into something gorgeous. GOD ALWAYS DOES EVERYTHING RIGHT.
“…Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me…” (Isaiah 30:15-18)
Galatians 5, (and the entire book of Galatians for that matter) is all about the freedom we can experience when we accept God, Jesus, His grace, and His power in our lives. It doesn’t mean by any stretch of the imagination, we have arrived to a level of static perfection! It simply means that when God declares you FREE, you are free, indeed! FREE forever! You’ve got to believe God’s Word by faith. Trust that He means what He says! YOU ARE FREE WHEN YOU ACCEPT HIM IN YOUR LIFE. No one, nothing, will ever take that status away from you, except your own choice to live a miserable life of rejection of God, to the moment you breathe your last breath! The person who accepts [a rule keeping system] trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, YOU FALL OUT OF GRACE. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our MOST CONSCIENTIOUS RELIGION nor DISREGARD OF RELIGION amounts to ANYTHING. What matters is something far more interior: FAITH EXPRESSED IN LOVE. It is absolutely clear that GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO A FREE LIFE. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For EVERYTHING we know about God’s Word IS SUMMED UP IN A SINGLE SENTENCE: LOVE OTHERS AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? The magnificent FREEDOM of God granted to you by GRACE is grown, nurtured and affirmed by LOVE. Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
Have you ever experienced the freedom of God? Pray like this:
“God, I accept your freedom in the name of Jesus! I am free indeed, because you promised me that I could be free for the rest of my life. Teach me through your Spirit the implications of being a free person. Teach me how to embrace my humanity without shame… Teach me to accept the broken self in me the same you accept me! Give me eyes to see myself, like You see me, God! Grant me peace, now… Teach me how to forgive myself, when I make mistakes… I believe you took my SIN away forever when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary… Give me the strength to let go, and live as a FREE citizen of your Kingdom of Grace and Love. Remind me to look at people, like you see them! In the name of Jesus, AMEN”
“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, NOT REALIZING THAT GOD’S KINDNESS IS INTENDED TO LEAD YOU TO REPENTANCE?”
Repentance (from the Greek “metanoia”) means CHANGE as an afterthought. In psychological terms “metanoia” or this kind of change is the process of experiencing a “break down” and subsequent, positive psychological re-building or “healing”
Such “breakdown” preceding change can be caused by human means as I mentioned above, OR by God’s KINDNESS.
God is deeply invested in the CHANGE of people by means of LOVING, showing mercy, grace and KINDNESS. Hell and suffering are not God’s creation. They are the result of sin and the rejection of God’s love and kindness. You don’t need to pay for the penalty of your sin/s any longer. God did it for you in the person of Jesus Christ. God does not condemn you, HE LOVES YOU! (John 3: 16-18) So you either accept His love or reject it. It is as simple as that, friend! I have said it many times: “If LOVE does not change the heart of a person, all other sources may change the behavior but not the HEART! I have watched people who every one though they had change for 30 years, to watch them destroy themselves in one moment, because their heart was never been touched by deep and abiding love. They simply contained their behavior for 30 years because of fear, religion, or self-discipline. In one moment of weakness it was all gone! I also know people who have grown in very unloving, and broken down situations, victims of child abuse, a world of drugs and crime… somehow, they caught a glimpse of the LOVE OF GOD and they actually surrendered to such love! These people do not reflect the symptoms of others that grew up under similar circumstances. Why is that?
You see, human behavior is mostly predictable. A reward system creates predictable behavior. Fear creates predictable behavior. The only think that changes the human heart from the inside out, in spite of, and beyond, circumstances, reward and fear, is LOVE.
I know how love and kindness makes me want to please another human being. Love melts my heart! Love makes me want to be better. Love makes me want to give my best! Love drives me to do what nothing else will do.
At the end of the day, what drives you to do what you do,friend? What motivates you to change? Love or Fear? Love or the need to fit? LOVE is God’s strategy to get people like you and me to change! I pray that you may catch a glimpse of such incredible LOVE and choose to follow God in the purpose He has for your life on this earth!