What It Means To Be Free In Christ
So listen I know that you guys are tired of hearing about my problems with the police and my car, but I think these stories are ever so hilarious and relatable, and for some reason unavoidable for me. Anyways, just a few days ago I’m driving on 59. On my way to work. Driving like a decent citizen. Driving the speed limit. With my seatbelt on. Minding my own business. And all of a sudden I see the infamous red and blue lights flashing behind me. Immediately, I go into thought about what I could have possibly done to make this officer pull me over. The man gets to my window and explains that my inspection was overdue on the car. I knew that. But being that I’m a broke college student I put that $90 trip aside for a little while so that I could attend to other needs.
Long story short, the cop ends up trying to empathize with me, saying “I know what it’s like to be a broke college student. And I don’t want to take your money.” So he ended up saying he’d let me go, but he still wrote me the citation. So basically he expected me to go through the process of pleading “not guilty” through the Magisterial Court, scheduling a court date, showing proof that I’ve gotten the inspection since then, and from there he wouldn’t pursue my citation. Anyone who’s ever been cited knows that in the end that takes more work and almost just as much money as just paying for the citation. So I started to question . . .
"Did he really “let me go?”
"Am I really free from this situation? "
"Because honestly I feel even more stuck."
You know I’m so thankful that this story doesn’t mirror the freedom in Christ Believers have. It doesn’t compare to the message Jesus sent, when He died on the Cross and paid the penalty for our sins in full. The work was completed. Finished. Over. We didn’t have to spend another dollar or schedule a court date just to say “we’re not guilty”. Even though we were. All we have to do is believe and follow.
There’s a few things I want you to understand about what it means to be free in Christ . . .
1. The freedom of Christ is unconditional.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.”
- Titus 3:4-5
The world we live in today is built on a system of current mediums of exchange. Exchange for profit and selfish gain. But over and over again the Bible makes it clear that it does not matter who you are, where you came from, or what you’ve done, God’s immeasurable grace covers you, so long as you profess and believe in what Jesus has done. Believing that He gave His life, so that you could be free from your insecurities. Free from your doubts. Free from your temptations. Free from any and everything that could separate you from seeing the light of God’s love. The freedom of Christ has no limits. It knows no boundaries. It saved a Christian executor from the chains of the enemy and pushed him to the path of preaching Jesus. It saved a prostitute from the wrath of hard hearts, and guided her to a path of healing. And it can save you from every form of darkness the enemy casts into your path. In Jesus you can be free, no matter the circumstance.
2. The freedom of Christ produces peace.
“The free gift of God is eternal life.”
- Romans 6:22
The reason I didn’t feel free when the officer let me go, is because I didn’t have peace about the situation. I still had a feeling of bondage hovering over my conscience. I still felt attached to a situation that brought me discomfort. You will always know that you are free when you have peace. Freedom and peace go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other, or else your perception of freedom is false. Everyone quotes the famous words of Jesus when He commanded “Peace be still.” I’m usually not a person who tries to read too deep into things, but I just love how He spoke to peace itself rather than the storm. He could of simply said “Storm be still” or “Storm cease”. But instead, Jesus displayed that He not only had the authority to calm the storms in our lives, but the power to bring peace. And that the peace He gives eradicates our ties to harmful situations and gives us a chance to pursue real healing. And what could ever clarify the existence of peace than the promise of eternal life. This promise of hope that we cling on to in every storm. This promise of eternal peace, that demands a reality that this isn’t the end. Better is to come. This truth of peace, can only be recognized in the freedom that Jesus gives.
3. The Freedom of Christ shouldn’t be abused.
“Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil.”
- 1 Peter 2:16
All day, I can proclaim the goodness of God’s free gift. But I would be dismayed if I did not intend to tell you that you can’t treat your freedom in Christ like a reuse and recycle program. It just doesn’t work like that. We live in such a laid-back generation. Sometimes we can get so comfortable, that we tend to deceive ourselves into a false sense of entitlement. In the sense that we feel as if God owes us something. Or that His Grace is our personal toilet, where we can take our “number 2’s” whenever we’d like, and He’ll just flush away all of our problems. Understand that freedom in Christ is not a calling to “comfortable Christianity”. Don’t you know that for years Kings, prophets, and servants longed to hear and say the very words that we can freely say today? From their jail cells and wilderness homes, they longed for the day that the Messiah would come. To be able to say that the wrath of God has finally been appeased and that we no longer have to rely on the blood of animals for our reconciliation with the Father, after we’ve strayed from His will. To be able to say that we are truly free, and “whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” Yes! Your freedom has been given to you as a free gift. But to whom much is given, much is required. Not in relation to paying God back. But in relation to your responsibility. Consider your privilege in Christ great. But your privilege is equal to your responsibility.
My prayer is that this short message would encourage someone who is lost, confused, or broken to pursue the fruits of Jesus’ freedom. To believe and walk in that freedom. This freedom isn’t a temporary, superficial “good feeling”. Rather, the freedom of Christ runs deep. Even during the toughest of times it prevails in your soul. It never runs dry. It never leads to bondage. It remains the same as long as we pursue The Source. As Ambassadors for Christ, let’s choose to walk in this freedom everyday. So that by our example others might see and reap the freedom that restores hearts, heals brokenness, and leads to the peace in eternal life with Jesus. Hopefully you don't get pulled over for an overdue inspection anytime soon, but if you do, just be thankful that Jesus' freedom doesn't operate like our judicial system!
Written by: Dylan Rucker | UI Executive Director
Connect with me on Twitter: @Dylan_Rucker