Freed by Grace

Jesus … said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “We are Abraham’s descendants,” they answered. “We have never been slaves to anyone. How can You say we will be set free?” Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:30-36)

For those of us who have grown up in the United States and are unexposed to other societies, it’s difficult to grasp the magnitude of what it means to be free. We had the opportunity to travel into Russia in the winter of 2003. At that time, we were hearing about glasnost, perestroika, and some measure of freedom in Russia. It quickly became apparent that this was at best a façade of freedom in that country.

The same is true of the Jews in this passage. Their boast is that they had never been slaves to anyone. Had they forgotten their own history of rebellion and exile? At that moment, they were living under Roman rule. At best, they were experiencing the façade of freedom.

So, what does it mean that, having experienced His grace, we are free indeed? We are free from the penalty of sin, free from the bondage of sin, free from the past. Grace has broken the seal and rolled the stone away.  We have been raised from death and darkness to walk in new life and light.
 
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10) We are indeed free, but not free to live however we want. We are free to live a new life of purpose, a life of service, a life of grace.  
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (
Titus 2:11-14)

In Christ, we are free to live a life whose chief aim is to bring glory to God. His grace sets us free to live how we ought to, not how we want to.

By Jesse Smith

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