The freedom we received through Christ is immense. Without Christ our approachability to God would be limited, just as it was for the Jewish people in the Old Testament. In Ephesians 3:12 Paul says, In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. We have confidence because of the freedom we have through Christ and it is because of Him that we can have true relationship with God.
Before Christ, the chasm between God and us was great. Rules had to be established through the Law. But through Christ the chasm has been bridged. In Ephesian 2:13 Paul says, But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross gave us everything we need to have authentic relationship with God. There are no barriers and there are no hurdles to be jumped. We are free.
Our lives are limited and not eternal by nature. It it through the sacrifice of Christ that we are granted eternal life. Psalm 49:8-9 says, 8 The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough – 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay. Back in the days of this Psalm, slaves could only be set free by being redeemed or ransomed (someone paying the price); it was a costly endeavor. But through Christ, He paid the price and set each of us free if we simply accept His gift of eternal salvation.
Because of Christ’s sacrifice we are free. Paul says in Hebrews 9:14, How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! What we must remember is the last passage in this verse where is says we are free from sin that we may serve the living God. Freedom from sin gives us the freedom to serve.
Christ brought each of us out of the darkness and into the light. We should live our lives accordingly. In Ephesians 5:8 Paul says, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. When you are in a dark room, it is hard to move around. When the lights are turned on we are able to move about freely. Living in the light is not a sacrifice, it is freedom from struggling in the darkness.
Though we have freedom in Christ and some things are not wrong in and of themselves, they may not be beneficial to our relationship with Christ. Further, it may not be beneficial as a witness to other believers. This may sound legalistic, but it’s not. In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 Paul says, 23 “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Our freedom should not trample on those around us. Freedom is for the benefit of others as much as ourselves.
Christ died for us to free us from the bonds of sin. It does not make us perfect, but it is meant to keep us from aimlessly pursuing matters that do not mean anything in the light of eternity. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Once you are free from slavery, the last thing you should want to do is return to those chains. Christ’s freedom is permanent, but it is up to us to accept it and benefit from it.
When the rich young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to go to heaven, we see Jesus’ reply in Mark 10:21, Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Jesus really did love the young man, just like He loves all of us because He does not want to see any of us out of His will. But in the end, Jesus gives all of us freedoml to choose or not choose Him. It’s sad when we move in a different direction, but that is what real freedom looks like.
In today’s reading I found it very peculiar when Jesus said the following words in Matthew 11:6 “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” Jesus was not apologizing for making the establishment uncomfortable with who He was. It was not a statement of regret for His own actions. Jesus was making a statement about the blessings people would receive if they simply removed themselves from what was dictated as right and instead looked to His example of what we are called to do. Because of His sacrifice we are free to serve and love others without the burden or constraints that existed without His mercy and grace.
I love everything about what Paul is saying in Romans 8, and in the end, Romans 8:37 says everything we need to know about our faith and what a relationship with Christ brings us, No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. No matter what our lives appear to be here on earth, we conquer it all when it comes to eternity through the gift of salvation.