SET FREE TO SERVE
On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed his name to the historic Emancipation Proclamation which declared freedom for every slave in the United States of America. With the signing of that piece of legislation, immediately and automatically every slave was potentially free. However, it did not automatically mean every slave enjoyed freedom. Some masters deliberately concealed the news from their slaves while other slaves refused to believe the news when they heard it!
Before a slave could actually be free, they first had to hear the good news. Next, they had to believe it – even though it seemed too good to be true. They then had to act on the facts and claim their freedom. Simply knowing without taking some concrete action only prolonged their slavery and kept them in bondage to their former masters. However, when they chose to act, they could count on the full authority of the United States of America to stand behind them.
There is a clear pattern here as it relates to God’s plan of redemption. When Jesus took upon himself the punishment for our sins and died in our stead to set us free from sins penalty, the document was signed. It was signed in the blood of Jesus. (I Peter 1:18-19) The potential of freedom existed for all who will believe. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” the apostle declared. But then he reasons: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone telling them? And how can they tell them unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:13-15)
The urgency of the gospel mandate is laid out plainly in these three verses. Following the steps of action in reverse it would read, “People must be sent to tell others about the Good News, so that they will have the opportunity to hear and believe and call on Jesus to be saved.” There is no other way. (II Cor. 4:1-7)
When people dare to do this, they find all the authority of the risen Christ on their side and are not only freed from the sin’s penalty, they are also freed from sin’s power. “You used to be slaves of sin. But I thank God that with all your heart you obeyed the teaching you received from me. Now you are set free from sin and are slaves who please God.” (Romans 6:17 CEV) “My friends, the message is that Jesus can forgive your sins! The Law of Moses could not set you free from all your sins. But everyone who has faith in Jesus is set free.” (Acts 13:38-39 CEV) “If the Son gives you freedom, you are free!” (John 8:36 CEV)
In Christ, you have been set free from your old self life. You have been set free from the bondage of sin and guilt, the spirit of rejection and condemnation, the yoke of demonic deception, worry, anxiety, and fear – including the fear of men, evil, death and hell.
In Galatians 5 Paul cautions us not to use this newfound “freedom” for selfish purposes. A fish is “free” as long as it remains in its environment of freedom. And for a fish – that’s water. A train is “free” to travel and achieve its intended function as long as it stays on its tracks. We can only experience true freedom as we remain within the framework of freedom spelled out for us in God’s Word. “So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.”
(Gal. 5:13 CEV)
Be blessed my friend. Glen (Pitts) The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love Romans 3:24; Galatians 5:1-15; Acts 13:1-12; II Tim. 1:7; Gal. 2:20