Friday, September 10, 2010

The Truth Sets Us Free

      How many times have we heard the term, "we are sinners saved by grace?"  What does that really mean?  A sinner is someone who is independent from God. Not just someone who does bad things.  A sinner lives a disconnected life from God.  Our identity before we are saved is as a sinner:  a being who lives independently of God.  Apart from God, we are truly sinners and there is no hope for us unless God intervenes. 
     As Christians, people who have been saved by God, who are we now?  This was the focus of our women's study tonight.  Who are we when we have been transformed by God?  Are we still sinners?  Are we people who are still disconnected by God?  This is a critical question, because so many of us were raised in church to believe this.  Apostle Paul, over and over again, refers to believers as saints.  We have been redeemed by God and made new.  We have been made righteous in Christ.  We are accepted by God. Totally and completely, based solely on what HE did, not on what we do.
     It's important to focus in on the truth of God's word. What does He say about us, now that we have been saved by His grace, through faith?  Let's list a few.  He says that we are new, holy, blameless, redeemed, sealed with the Holy Spirit, free from the power of sin. righteous, alive, clean, pure, slaves of righteousness, sons of God, heirs in the kingdom, seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, circumcised away from the body of the sins of the flesh, sanctified, justified, washed, purified.  We have a new heart and a new spirit that is clean.
     What happens if we fail to believe the truth of what God's word says about us?  We will rely on feelings as the basis for our understanding of what is truth, and we will walk according to those feelings and thoughts.  The truth frees us.  Jesus said that if you abide in My word, you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.  Never are we commanded to rest in our feelings; to define our world by our feelings.  God is saying that now that we are saved and transformed beings, He defines our reality and our reality is unseen. It's a reality based on Truth and it's walked in by Faith.  Believing that what God has said is true.
     God is totally righteous. He is working out what is right all the time.  There is no error in Him.  He is perfect in all His ways.  No one counsels Him. No one tells Him what to do.  He never lies.  Always loves, even in His wrath He loves.  He works all things according to the counsel of His will, working all things together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes.  He is everlasting.  He is uncontested.  He never fails.  His Word is True.  His view of reality it totally right.  It doesn't matter if it's hard for us to understand.  He will reveal to us what He wants us to know as we sit with Him, with no other purpose than to bring honor and glory to Him and enjoy Him.
     We can believe God.  He is fully trustworthy.  He loves us and He knows what is right all the time.  What He says is right and He is actively working out what is perfectly right all the time, whether it makes sense to us or not.
     When God says that we are holy, we are holy.  When God says that we are new, we are new.  When God says that we are clean, we are clean.  We are what we are.  We are beings who have been created new in Christ. We are God's workmanship, the work of His hands. He does not make rejects. He does not make mistakes.  He does not make dysfunction. He is perfect in all His ways.  He has made  us perfect, given us a new spirit and heart that is perfect, unblemished, undefiled, and without sin.  And through this vessel, He pours Himself, through His Spirit, giving us everything we need to live a godly life to the praise of His glorious grace.
      What if we don't believe this reality, this Truth?  We see the words in the Bible, but our feelings and experience do not line up with it, so we put more weight on our feelings and experience than that Word of God.  What will happen?  We will live out what we believe and we will walk out our lives in dysfunction and confusion, eventually leading to despair.
      If we believe that elevators are unsafe, what would we do?  We would take the stairs.  If we believe that airplanes are dangerous, we will drive.  If we believe we need caffeine to stay awake, we will drink caffeine.  We do what we believe.  We do things by faith all the time.  We sit in chairs believing they will hold us.  We eat food in restaurants, believing we will not die of food poisoning.  We walk down the sidewalk believing that cars will stay on the road and not hit us.  All day long we live by faith in the things we can see.  Now God is calling us to believe Him, the unseen One;  the invisible God who created all things.  The God who is.  He just is.  He always was and He always will be.  He is God alone.  And He created us.  We have been born again by an imperishable Seed.  We are eternal beings, residing in eternity right now.  This is the truth.     
     We are in Christ. The fullness of God is in Christ and Christ is in us.  Think about that. Meditate on it.  What amazing reality.  God has done an amazing thing through His gospel. It's a mystery really.  How can we comprehend what God has done?  As God reveals, and we believe, we begin to walk by faith and not by sight.  Our values changes.  Our behaviours change. Our feelings may eventually follow.  We experience His peace.  His Joy.  His Love.  We stand firm in the midst of difficulties.  We rest in Him, fully trusting Him and magnifying Him.  He is our Joy.  He is our Peace.  He is our Love.  He just is.  And we are in Him.  We just are who we are in Christ.  Transformed beings, radiating the light and love of God, living as ambassadors of Christ in a lost and broken world.  And people begin to transform around us.  God's love impacts lives and we rest in Him, enjoying Him, thanking Him for this salvation that we could not earn, nor strive to gain.  It's a gift of God by faith in Him.  That's all.  He freely has given us everything we need for life and godliness. 
     We did not deserve it.  We deserved death, but He took all our independence, our sin, in Himself and paid the price we could not pay.  He set us free from sin's power and made us righteous in Christ.  We are free.  If we choose to believe the truth, we will live free.  We won't be able to help it.  It is who we are.  It just is.

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