“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if THE SON sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 8:35-36 ESV
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Galatians 5:1 ESV
In Christ we have the freedom. Not the freedom to do whatever we want. But the freedom to live a life as sons and daughters of Almighty God. Here is a beautiful definition of freedom explained by theologian John Stott.
True freedom is freedom to be my true self, as God made me and meant me to be.True freedom is, then, the exact opposite of what many people think. It is not being free from responsibility to God and others so I can live for myself. That is bondage to my own self-centredness. Instead, true freedom is freedom from my silly little self so I can live responsibly in love for God and others.
– John Stott
The way to that freedom– The old has gone! The new has come!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
When we are in Christ what changes is not our circumstances but it is us!!. You become a new creation. And that doesn’t mean everything and everyone around you changes. What the scripture teaches is that it is an internal transformation which will be seen outwardly. A person who accepted Christ will have a life change. Jesus enables us to see things differently. We will have a different focus and insight. And when that happens as matter of fact our lives that we live on this earth will be impacted as well.
Doubtful of your salvation?!
Growing up in a Christian family, I was always doubtful about my salvation. Like I heard in testimonies and messages I didn’t have that special experience in which my life had a drastic change. Some of you may be like that. You grew up in a Christian family, you pray everyday, read bible everyday, attend church meetings, do whatever you can in God’s Kingdom, but you don’t have that experience or situation that you can just point out and say ,’this day my life has changed’!. You may have a date written on the back of the Bible or a journal for the sake of having a date.
I also had a date like that. But I didn’t feel anything new about my life. There was no old life and new life!!I knew in my heart Jesus died for my sins, I believed that, I confessed that. When I understood about baptism I took baptism. But after that also there was no visible change in me. I continued what I was doing. Praying, reading God’s word and everything else what a believer does. Everyday before going to bed I prayed God to forgive me of the sins, because I was afraid that if I don’t say that prayer and if Jesus comes or I die in my sleep I’ll go to hell!!! In Sunday school and youth meetings the most dreaded question for me was to talk about the day I got saved. I was afraid that I do not have that experience so how will I talk about it? And if I don’t talk about it what will they think of me?! I was afraid that I have to come up with a fake experience or story to convince people that I am saved!!.
Oldest son syndrome.
It took years for me to realize that I am like the oldest son in the Prodigal son’s parable. The son who is in the Father’s house, but not able to enjoy that privilege or his inheritance. It says in Luke chapter 15:28 the oldest son became angry when he heard about the welcome his brother received upon his return. He said to his father,
“Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!”
Luke 15:29-30 ESV
Just like this older son, I was in the Father’s house, but my heart was not right with God. What I lacked in my life was a personal close relationship with my Heavenly Father. And I had no idea how to get into that place. I thought obeying rules and regulations and staying in the family and doing what is pleasing for the elders in church is how I show that I am a daughter of Almighty God. Part of that act involved serving God in His Kingdom, just like how the older son said proudly about how he was serving his father. This son know who his father is, and the standards and expectations that came with that.
This older son doesn’t have a story to tell others that can show that he was lost but now he is saved. Because he never physically went away from his father’s home. But his heart was way far away!. Since he was a rule follower he thought others who don’t do the same are not good enough to receive anything that belongs to the father. He looked down on those people with resentment. He couldn’t understand his own father’s heart even though he was living inside that house. Looking back into my life I was also quick to judge others and to view others in the lens I made with a set of rules I’m following!. I failed to understand the depth of God’s grace. I didn’t understand how all these people are experiencing such a change in their life!!
Life made new! Not by works, but by faith in Christ. It is a gift!!!
So I started praying to God to give me a testimony. A testimony where I can say I have been made new! I wanted what those people were talking about. Let me be honest with you, my transformation was a gradual process. It didn’t happen overnight! But there are days I can specifically remember God speaking to me through His word about the wickedness and sins inside of me. For me it is a process of continuous repentance. And it is still happening in me. The more I read and understand His word, the more I’m able to understand the heart of God and the need of Jesus in my life.
“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
Romans 10:8-13 ESV
Salvation is purely through your faith in Jesus. Nothing can add to it. The moment you put your faith in Jesus it happens in your life. Faith is not a simple word. Putting faith is Jesus Christ is a big big step. It is a realization deep down in the heart that Christ did it all for me! The finished work on the cross! . A faith that helps you to overcome every lie of the enemy and every doubt in your heart!. And God did it in me too. Not through any person, but through His word, Holy Spirit did that work in me. And now I have a testimony to share and more testimonies about the way Christ is transforming me.
A word for those who are waiting for a change!
So for those of you who are still waiting for this encounter, sincerely pray to God for a transformation. Stop waiting around for something outside to happen and expecting that will change you. You may be thinking that it is okay this way, without a true relationship and fellowship with Jesus. No, my friend, you are not okay. Whatever you are thinking okay and giving you happiness now ends in this world. Stop pretending salvation. Also let us stop trying to change others by setting certain rules and regulations in hopes that it will change their heart!. That will not do it. It will make them tired and weary and you will be disappointed. While the law of God, rules and regulations makes us aware of our sin and misery it cannot save us!!. It could not remove the condemnation and bring out the transformation in our lives. So give them Jesus, He who fulfilled the law. We need Jesus! Know the truth and truth shall set us free!. We need a life change. Pray to God for a transformation from within!. He who formed the hearts know all our thoughts!. You need Jesus more than you even realize. He is the true joy and He alone can give rest for your souls. Until you find Him and invite Him into your heart, your soul will be restless!. Seek Him now! Pray to Him, read His word. Word of God transforms us, discerns us and guide us in the way everlasting. Christ is near to us and He will be found by all who seek Him. His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. And that is the faith that saves us and gives us confidence to approach the throne of grace. And for those who have experienced this transformation continue to live in that relationship and power of Christ. Bible says we need to do His will to enter the kingdom of God. It is not that you know God, but does God really know you as someone who is truly following Him?!
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 ESV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
Even the faith and insightfulness that you had to believe in Christ is a gift from God. There is nothing we can boast about in this process.
Don’t be a slave in your Father’s home!
Examine yourself if you are in faith?! Have you stopped following Him. Have you stopped hearing His voice? Jesus said “my sheep will hear my voice and they will follow me”. It is a requirement, a necessity. If you have stopped hearing His voice, see which path are you on right now? Before it’s too late turn back to Him. Don’t live your life thinking that I’m in my father house, I’m obeying all the rules so I’m fine!. While we live thinking that way we are not better than a slave in master’s home!. God is calling us sons and daughters. We see in this parable the father saying these words to the older son.
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”
Luke 15:31 ESV
The father is calling him dearly and reminding him that he is father’s son and everything the father has belongs to him. So for those who are living as slaves in fathers house forgetting the grace and love of father and trying to achieve things by your own good works, there is something really important you are missing. That is putting your faith in Him and believing and trusting in Him completely!. That is what makes us different and unique and sets us apart from this word. My salvations comes from God!. So I will not be restless, but will rest in Him.
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Psalms 62:1-2 NIV
So enjoy the freedom Christ purchased for you. Live a life with overflowing gratitude and love for the Father!. When you understand this you will be living a life pleasing to the Father not because of fear and compulsion but because you love God and you are abiding in Christ.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15 ESV
When a person is in Christ , he is a new creation. The change happens from inside out and not outside in. Often times we try to bring a change in us by doing things that we think right. But word of God says what we need is a heart change which will be shown outside through our life. A repentance that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10), a transformation through renewing our mind (Romans 12:2). If you try it other way it will be a momentarily commitment and a complete failure. What should be seen outside is the evidence of our faith in Christ.
So as the word of God encourages us. Let us all examine ourselves and lead a life which is pleasing in the eyes of God with a renewed heart. As David prays in Psalms 51
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Psalm 51:2, 4, 6, 9-12, 15-17 ESV
May God bless you all.