"Let Freedom Ring"!
Think about this for a moment. It will be a little disturbing
but can have very positive results.
Picture yourself at the point where you are standing before God. Earth time has past, and so has the earth itself. All the hustle and bustle of busy days; all the activities of man have ceased. The universe has been removed, the elements themselves having melted out of existence at the word of God. The day has come!
The temporal realm has fulfilled its purpose and, according to God's eternal plan, is being replaced by a new heavens and a new earth; a special place prepared for God's people. It is now time to hear the pronouncement of the ages: Will this be your home, or will it be the outer darkness for you?
Now it is too late to fix whatever needed fixing during those last seconds of the old era of the earth. It is too late to serve the Creator. It is too late to overcome sin. You are in the presence of the Almighty's glory and power and splendor.
It has been said, "It is a tormenting thing to fear what one cannot overcome." If you are facing God yet in your sins and have not availed yourself of His grace though you had countless opportunities to do so, then you know what the eternal outcome of this unique event will be. Every day of your life, at any moment of the day, you could have turned to God and sought for salvation. Others had done so, but you did not. Now you await certain judgment and all it entails. You know it and there is no absolutely nothing that can be done about it, not now.
Sin is slavery. It is bondage cruel and harsh. It promises much more than it can deliver to its slaves, and hides its consequences until it is too late. While the consequences of sin begin here in our time and realm, the ultimate wages paid will be eternal separation from God beginning at the judgment. This separation and the soul's existence in that state is called "the second death" ; it is "the wages of sin" (Romans 6:23).
Without Christ, man would be hopelessly and helplessly in the bondage of sin. The Old Law was given to place those faithful to God under it in a kind of protective custody until Jesus. The Savior was coming to pay the ransom for the sins of the world. Paul wrote, "For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin." (Romans 7:14). His hope did not lie in the Law, but in the Savior to Whom the Law pointed. The Scriptures explain to us that Jesus died so that He " ...and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." (Hebrews 2:15).
Back to the hour of judgment. I want to enter into that hour free in Christ. As I stand before the throne I wish to be able to say that I belong to Christ; He is my Savior, and sin is not my master. It was once, but no longer. I have been redeemed and I am free.
The Gospel is A Gospel of Freedom
The gospel of Christ is "good news" to all of us because it is a message of freedom. But "freedom" or "liberty" does not mean that it has no requirements. It means that in it we are freed from the bondage and eternal consequences of sin. We are delivered from death.
Please do not think for a moment that freedom has not responsibilities or requirements. For example, we have a responsibility to stand firm in the gospel and not to return to sin; "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1). We must exercise our freedom in a responsible way. This would include our willingness, and even eagerness, to serve one another "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13).
Even as our nation was founded on the principles of personal civil liberty, and has a constitution meant to protect those liberties, it was and is still only due to our own vigilance and willingness to meet freedom's responsibilities that this freedom will endure. So it is with our spiritual liberty in Christ. If we are lazy and take it for granted, we will likely lose it. What will that aforementioned hour of judgment be like for those who have neglected their faith and its responsibilities? Remember: "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17).
God is the God of Deliverance
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." (Exodus. 20:2). It is appropriate to see the parallels between what God did in bringing Israel our of Egyptian slavery and His bringing sinners out of bondage to sin. The New Testament does this rather frequently (i.e. 1 Corinthians 10: 1-12; Hebrews 3:1-19).
Sin, like slavery, oppresses and degrades man (John 8:34). But God loves us and has come to our rescue much as He did for ancient Israel. To us, He provides freedom in Christ, who like Moses, is our deliverer. Even Moses, as a prophet, was given a message from God which foresaw another deliverer from bondage like himself and wrote, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him." (Deuteronomy 18:15).
Freedoms Found in Christ
In Christ we are offered freedom from the eternally destructive power of Satan. (Acts 26:18). We find in Christ separation from the guilt of our sins in the past (Acts 2:38). We are given protection from the power of sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). We find incentives to overcome and stay free from sin through the inherent protections the gospel supplies the faithful (1 John 5:18). When we fall short, we have grace in Christ whereby, confessing our sins to God, He will forgive us (1 John 1:8-2:1). We find freedom from the fear and sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:56,57).
In view of the beauty of freedom in Christ, it is amazing (and ironic) that anyone would reject Christianity because it is too "confining." May all who do so come to realize how mistaken they are while there is yet time to overcome sin.
We began by saying, "Picture yourself at the point where you are standing before God. Earth time has past, and so has the earth itself. All the hustle and bustle of busy days; all the activities of man have ceased. The universe has been removed, the elements themselves having melted out of existence at the word of God. The day has come!"
And now we add: But you are free in Christ. You have accepted seriously the responsibilities as well as the privileges of freedom. And now, by the grace of God the Deliverer, your freedom is eternal.
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 16.8; August 2009