“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b)
How many Christians are experiencing the full measure of the power of Christ’s Spirit? How many Christians remain bound in sin, still living through the wounds of their broken hearts? How many Christians hear the message of Truth regarding the freedom that exists for those who believe in His power to heal? The church’s preoccupation with selling salvation rather than teaching what God desires is preventing Christians from experiencing the full measure of the divine power that is accessible to believers through Christ’s Spirit. Without question, the church preys on our desire to receive the gift, while that message often negates teaching the truth regarding what God desires instead. Imagine if the entire focus of the church message was about breaking free from whatever sin that currently needs refinement within your heart, instead of simply making sure that your sinful self will still be welcome into His kingdom. The reality is, that approach is exactly what God desires, that we continue to earnestly seek Him and His knowledge, believing in His divine power to tear down our strongholds enabling the eyes of our heart to be enlightened so that we know the hope for which He has called us. (Eph. 1:18) God certainly doesn’t desire that we live through our wounds and continue to be bound in sin; He desires to set us free!
The sin in your heart that you ignore, deny, or enjoy, prevents you from knowing the Lord to the full measure that He desires that you come to know Him. Allowing Him to refine your heart is the only way that you can break free from that sin. There will always be sin remaining in our hearts, one’s earnestness in seeking God to reveal what sin we need refined next is how we grow in Him. As I often say, do not allow the fact that you will never achieve the perfection of Christ to prevent you from wholeheartedly striving to attain it! “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect; be holy, because I am holy.” (Matt. 5:48, 1 Peter 1:15) What motivation do Christians have today to be perfect and holy in the way that God is perfect and holy when they believe that they already stand there holding their “grace ticket” to heaven?
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of Truth, the gospel of your salvation.” (Eph. 1:13a)
You were included in Christ when you heard the message of Truth… ah, yes, the “truth” that your pastor/priest is teaching, right? To be “included in Him” is most certainly the desired union that believers have. The question that I pose is, how does FREEDOM fit within the message that you heard, the message that you accepted? The church message today is exclusively focused on the wonderful, amazing grace of God that forgives us and loves us and cannot wait to bring our darkness into His Light. Well, maybe that will be true for you, I do not know. But what I am asking you is, where does freedom fit in that message? Is freedom from the bondage of sin, not part of the “truth” that we are to believe in His Word?
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor. 3:17)
There is incomparable, Awesome power accessible through the Spirit of the Lord; this divine power is what enables you to tear down strongholds and live your life obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-6)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8a)
Finding this freedom requires that you believe in the power of His Spirit; God desires that you experience the full measure of His love, that you experience FREEDOM! I believe that to “know the Lord” is to know the freedom that results from believing in and experiencing the power of His Spirit. (Eph. 3:16-19) Experiencing the power of His Spirit is what results in the new creation.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old is gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Without His Spirit, there can be no new creation! But what if we do not seek this freedom, the complete transformation? What happens if all we are seeking is forgiveness and confidence in our eternal salvation? What if you really do not believe in His power? Well, then you will not receive His power. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: If you are not living with the freedom that His Spirit brings, then you are denying the power of His Spirit by rejecting His Word! If you are still bound in sin, there is a freedom that you have yet to experience, and that freedom is only possible through His Spirit. Do you not believe that Jesus desires to heal you and has the power to do so? (Matt. 13:15) Jesus promises freedom from the bondage of sin, a new heart, and a new life to those who believe. (John 8:34-36) It isn’t as though Jesus is only promising the forgiveness of sins, He is promising freedom from being bound in sin! Do you hear this? Do you believe this? Or do you claim to believe that God raised Jesus from the grave, but just not believe that that same power is accessible to you? (Eph. 1:19-20) Look, you can claim to believe in the existence of Jesus all you want, but if you do not believe in His promises (including the power of His Spirit), then you are not believing in the beauty of His TRUTH (His Word)! The power that you receive is equal to the power that you believe in! Jesus speaks to the divine power available through His Spirit, or do you not believe? (Mark 11:22, James 1:6-8)
You have faith, do you? Good. You “believe” do you? Good. Do you have faith and believe in the Omnipotence of God to create the universe, heaven, and all life itself — to raise Jesus from the grave — but just NOT believe that He can heal your heart and break you free from your chains and the bondage of sin? If that is the case, then you do not believe in His Word, Truth! Do you claim to believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the grave is living within you, but at the same time claim to believe that God’s mighty strength just isn’t strong enough to set you free from your addiction? Do you know that what that really means is that in reality, you do not believe? If you believe in Jesus but have not experienced this freedom, then your heart is not yet fully surrendered to the Lord! And there is no shame in this, most all Christians are there, it is just that you need to hear the truth! Without question, God can indeed make beauty from your ashes, but you must first be willing to burn the wood that currently fortifies that wall surrounding your stubborn heart! Claiming to be a child of God while you continue to be bound in sin (greed, envy, lust, drugs, alcohol, unforgiveness, selfish ambition, etc.) is to deny the power of God! (1 John 3:6) It is one thing to profess to believe in God (and His Son), but to deny that His Spirit has the power to do what the Lord says that He can do is to reject His Word!
Christians: are you seeking freedom, or selfishly simply seeking salvation? God desires that you be free so that you no longer be bound in sin — therein lies your salvation! So, do you desire to live free from sin, or simply want to be forgiven for your sins? Do you desire to live in His Light, or simply desire to be accepted into His Light? Seeking salvation is not what will result in finding the freedom that we all desire, seeking the Lord with all your heart will! While we cannot experience heaven while we are still in the tent of this body, we can experience true FREEDOM even on this side of eternity! (2 Cor. 3:17) That promise is the power, Truth, and love of God!
The freedom that Christ is referring to is the freedom from that which causes death — sin! Not just forgiveness for having sinned, but freedom from desiring sin altogether. Whether you are talking about freedom from the sins of “self” (pride, arrogance, greed, lust, envy, selfish ambition, sexual immorality, unforgiveness, etc..) or freedom from all the lies that cause you to live through your wounds (guilt, shame, regret), the freedom that Christ offers is a freedom from the weakness of the flesh. With the Lord, your walk will now nurture and cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in your life. This is how “working out your salvation with fear and trembling,” and desiring to “grow and become complete, mature in Christ” are no longer felt as burdensome; rather “doing His will” now serves as your food, and His Spirit is your life-giving water! (John 4:34, John 4:14)
Earnestly seek the Lord for your healing, trust in the promise, and the freedom that the power of His Spirit brings. There is NO chain that cannot be broken, NO wound that cannot be healed, NO brokenness that He cannot mend! When He says a new heart, He means it! When He says freedom from the bondage of sin, He means it! When He says immeasurable joy, peace, and contentment, He means it! Your pastor cannot do this for you, your priest cannot do this for you, nor can your church do this for you; this healing and the resulting freedom will take place between you and the Lord, and will happen when you finally fully surrender your heart to Christ. Jesus knows where your heart is; He knows that you believe that He exists, but He also knows if you doubt His power and His ability to deliver on His promise. Hold Him to His Word, trust in His promise, and you will find freedom.
It is not our place to question the claims that God makes in His Word, but it is the believer’s responsibility to trust in His Word and allow Him to reveal how He will actualize His Truth in our lives. Does your spirit cry out, “FREEDOM!”? Or does your spirit cry, “What freedom?”
Experience His freedom; give your life to Christ! This will involve going to the funeral of your own independence; this will involve abandoning your will and dying with Christ to sin. Do not worry about how you will be able to live to the glory of God, He takes care of that! Just give Him your heart, all of it, and He will receive you!
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