Five Truths About Freedom
Sometimes I get too focused on helping Christians to live lives of greater love, joy, and good deeds at the expense of forgetting the basics of the good ole gospel.
Allow me reground us all in what it really means:
1. In Romans 7:15-25, Paul is lamenting about his sin patterns and declares himself a “wretched man.” That’s a good step to begin with: he’s admitting/confessing that he’s got a problem. That’s humility.
2. He bursts out in anguish about “Who” can save him from this despicable cycle? He doesn’t say: “What strategy should I deploy to stop the cycle?” Nor does he say “Who can help me stop the cycle?” He’s saying “The cycle doesn’t seem to be going away real soon so who can save me from the penalty that I deserve because of it?” The answer is in verse 25: Jesus. You see, the price we pay for unrepentant sin is separation from our perfect God now and after we die. The “good news” (a.k.a, The Gospel) is that Jesus already paid the price, is paying the price, and will pay the price for us.
3. Most people think this is all too easy. That this equates to condoning --- and maybe even encouraging --- sin. Or that it’ll lead to laziness and people won’t serve in the church or serve the least of these. But Paul is clearly showing a repentant heart and a spirit of gratitude toward Christ for taking the heat for his mess ups. Improved behavior is the result of the realization of how much we are forgiven. Not a prerequisite for it.
4. Living in the realization of our forgiveness --- I heard it once said – does not lead to being sinless, but it does lead us to sin less. Don’t expect perfection. Focus on improvement.
5. Good behavior is the result of someone realizing they are saved from the penalty of their sin. It’s not a part of the formula for receiving that salvation.
Humble yourself and confess that you’re a sinner. Acknowledge with gratitude that Christ bridges the gap between your imperfection and God’s perfection. Period. Full stop. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your freedom and God’s unrestrained love for you comes by faith plus something else.