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True Freedom

by Debra E. Marvin, well, mostly the Apostle Paul, with some help from the Newsboys.

Some of us at the Inkwell have been involved in a discussion this past week about Freedom. Freedom from sin and legalism and temptations. About knowing what trips us up and being concerned lest we also become stumbling blocks to others. This is no lightweight subject and deserves all our efforts to truly understand. Writing with the intention of both entertaining and having those words be used by God to touch someone is a big responsibility. To stay grounded in the truth, we must go back to the source.

I can say no more and no better than the pure and simple words of the Apostle Paul. If you can, take the time today to read the Freedom Chapter. I've copied these beautiful words from The Message Bible. I pray they touch your heart with the gift of ultimate freedom.

Romans 6

1-3So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!
3-5That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country.
6-11Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did.
12-14That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.
15-18So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
19I'm using this freedom language because it's easy to picture. You can readily recall, can't you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God's freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
20-21As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn't have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you're proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.
22-23But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
Enjoy your freedom today with THE NEWSBOYS!

Comments

  1. The Word is so powerful. Like a two-edged sword, slicing through 'interpretations' and plain for anyone to read and understand!

    Thanks, Deb

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  2. Awesome Deb. Very powerful. I loved reading the passage in the Message today, and I love the Newsboys song. Thanks for reminding me to keep grounded in God's word and that He's set me free. Hope you are having a great day.

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  3. Isn't it wonderful how Paul writes in present tense about our freedom? Not past tense, not future tense, but present, here and now. Stepping over that line from "I will be free when..." and filling in the blank with all our weaknesses and struggles, into that place of "I AM free" is one of the greatest transformations in our minds and hearts, and shows up in our actions.
    Free to live, free to love, free to dance, free to run...
    Thanks, Deb!

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  4. Thanks ladies!
    And I love how this song comes to mind for me when I need it most.

    The Message's version of this chapter is amazing. I love the phrase of "leaving an old country behind where we no longer live"... a new life in a new land.

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  5. Awesome, Deb. We sing that song all the time at church. Here's a favorite scripture of mine to go with yours.

    Matthew 11:28 (The Message)

    28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

    I think my biggest pet peeve about this whole freedom debate is when so-called "mature" believes try to press outside rules on people under the "stumbling block" arguement. Seems to me that uptight, easily-offended, obviously not so mature believers are the only ones who get tripped up over that kind of stuff.

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  6. Great verse, Dina! thanks!

    My thoughts on 'maturity' is that the whole package is so deep and wide that I think we are all mature/immature in certain areas. And that is how it's going to be until we are perfected. It all has to do with our spiritual advisors along the way and the incidents we've dealt with and seen. Every aspect of God and His word is bottomless, really!

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  7. Thank you for that word! I needed it!

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