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September 20, 2017, 7:39 AM

Freedom in Christ



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than Christ… When you were dead in your sins and in the circumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations… He took it away, nailing it to the cross… Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:8, 13-17).

The grace of God has two dimensions. One dimension is the forgiveness of sins. The other is, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

We receive the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, and “against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, one who has the new heart doesn’t need any law because the Holy Spirit makes the law unnecessary. This is why Jesus said that all the law and the prophets are fulfilled in one word, love.

Paul explained, “For this, ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9-10). In other words, when we are filled with the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit causes us to do what the law aimed at, plus a great deal more. This makes the law unnecessary!

N. T. Wright declares, “All you need is Christ, the king. Hold fast to him and you’ll have all you need. He is the head of the ‘body’, as Paul said already in 1:18. The body gets its life from the head, through what it thinks, sees, smells, hears, eats and drinks. In the same way, the body which is the church is nourished and sustained, in all its joints, muscles and ligaments, not by embracing this or that new teaching, but by holding fast to the Head. Can you sense the sigh of relief the Colossians may have experienced on being reassured that they were already complete in Christ and didn’t need anything else, just more of what they already had? Have you ever come under pressure to ‘add’ to your Christian experience? Do you know the same sigh of relief yourself?”

Let us join in prayer: Heavenly Father, my life, in so many ways and at so many places, seems shackled and bound. Help me to find freedom and liberty in you this day. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens


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