Monday, August 20, 2012
Freed from everything
“Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
“‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you.’
And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,
“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
Therefore he says also in another psalm,
“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses."
(Acts 13:26-39 ESV)
I have been alternating reading this section of Acts 13 and the 17th chapter of Acts each day as of late. Each chapter contains the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. This line keep grabbing me "everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses." Of course, you have to read it in context. We have to ask and answer the question: What is it that you are to believe in order to have this freedom? The first part of the answer seems obvious to me: the clause right before this one says: "that through this man (Jesus Christ) forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you" so we are forgiven of our sins. I can hear myself before I was a Christian saying, "So what?! Who cares? I am not interested in being a good girl and having no fun." There was no appeal to me. I was blind and I had no understanding of my need for forgiveness. Frankly, I didn't care. When the LORD opened my eyes and I saw that God was Holy and could not be in the presence of sin and that He loved me enough to pour out His wrath upon His Son Jesus who went to the cross willingly to die for my sins, that I might be forgiven and made righteous by His blood, then and only then did I see my need. The need goes far deeper and still more is being revealed as I seek Him. I believe that through "this man" i.e. Jesus Christ I have forgiveness of sins.
We can't just leave it at that. The man, Jesus Christ died for my sins. If he was just any man, it would not have fulfilled God's requirement of a perfect sacrifice. Jesus lived a perfect life as a man and he is also God incarnate. Yes, I believe he is 100% man (100% God) who was raised bodily and did not see decay and is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for those who believe and trust in Him. 1st John 4 verse 2 states: "By this you know the spirit of God, every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God" I believe that Jesus Christ is God and that he came into the world just as we do, being born of a woman, he grew into a man. He counted himself as one of our brothers and being made like us in every respect as it says in Hebrews 2. I believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.
Thirdly, there is the fulfillment of the Law. That Jesus is who He says He is. The Law of Moses was followed by the Jews. We might call them "keepers of the Law." They also possessed the hope of the Coming Messiah and some had their own ideas about what He would be about and how He would conduct His business. Some Jews, obviously, had their eyes open by the Holy Spirit and some did not. One of the mysteries is how God Almighty, Infinite in Power and Providence used all to bring about His Plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
By keeping the law of Moses seemingly to perfection by great works we can not be free. Even our BEST works are considered stained by sin. We can't have it so that our good works outweigh our bad deeds. If we could, then Jesus Christ died in vain and God could not be holy.
Christians who believe if they go to church every Sunday, tithe 10% or more, do good to their neighbors, friends and enemies, serve in the ministry of the Church and the Word in other words love God and their neighbor in their own power are not free.
Christians who believe that they are saved by Grace Alone through Faith Alone and can do whatever they want to do in this life. They are a law unto themselves and they too are legalists. There is no freedom for the law makers either.
Who can have this freedom?!
Those who believe that Jesus paid it all. Those who believe Jesus did for them what they could never do for themselves. Those who believe it is Jesus who paid for all of their sins. Those who believe that Jesus is the God/man who came in the flesh, lived the life that they could never live, died the death that they deserved and rose bodily from the grave. Those who believe that Jesus conquered sin and death motivated by the great love with which He loved us and made us alive that we might have LIFE Eternal. Those who indeed believe that Jesus plus nothing indeed equals everything are the ones who have been set free from everything which the law had no power to do.
"Now the LORD is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2Corinthians 3:17