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, there was only a path to God through Israel. But God’s plan is perfect and He made a way for all people through Christ. In Ephesians 3:6 Paul says, This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. The plan has always been for all to be able to receive salvation. What is new is that we are now co-heirs; both Jews and Gentiles. God created all of humanity and His perfect plan and desire is to have a relationship with everyone.
Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are all part of the family of God. Paul says in Ephesians 2:18, For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. The Jewish people first had access, and now through Christ all have access. We are all part of the same eternal inheritance as co-heirs in Christ.
When we talk about the “church”, we are not talking about a building, we are talking about the body of Christ made up of all believers. Paul talks about the make up of the body of Christ in Ephesians 1:22-23, 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. The intended makeup of our relationship with God was fulfilled when Christ died and God raised Him from the dead. It is because of this miracle and God’s plan which allows each of us to be saved and become members as believers in the body of Christ fulfilled.
As believers and followers of Christ, we have every benefit of knowing God through our relationship with Him. Ephesians 1:3 says, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Because of salvation and our intimate relationship with Christ, we can enjoy the benefits of a relationship directly with God. Christ gives us that ability and it is because God loved us so much he gave us this way.
When we trust in other men, no matter what their status in life, we put our trust in an flawed savior. In Psalm 146:3-4 the author says, 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that day their plans come to nothing. We are all the same; flawed, sinful, and ultimately inadequate. True hope for the weak can only come from a perfect God and savior.
Sometime, in our sorrow, we forget what it’s like to be joyful. When the Israelites were exiled or in captivity, they would work hard to maintain their culture and their identity as God’s chosen people. Often that identity was tied to their life back in Jerusalem. In Psalm 137:5 the author wants to desperately remember his identity as God’s chosen and what it meant to live as a free and sovereign nation under God: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. For us, when we are far from God or when we have lost our joy because of the sorrow in our lives, we should cling closely to our identity in Christ and the freedom we have from salvation, regardless of our present circumstances. While this is easier said than done, there will be times when this is all we have.
Have you ever thought about what salvation really means? It means forgiveness of our sins and our sinful nature. It is literally God forgetting all the many and creative ways we sin. Psalm 130:3-4 says, 3 If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. If God kept a record of our sin, the burden would continue to be overwhelming. But God removes the weight and eternal consequences of sin and frees us to be who He intended us to be. Likewise, God gives us an example of how we are to forgive others. If we cannot release others from their transgressions against us, then we have not truly forgiven them.
We are not slaves to unrighteousness. God has set us free by His grace and love. Psalm 129:4 says, But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. Through our freedom found only through God’s perfect plan, we are no longer tied to sin. That doesn’t mean we are perfect, but through God’s power and grace we have the tools to be free from the damaging power of sin in our lives. Trusting and relying on God’s strength through the Holy Spirit is all we need to conquer sin.
In today’s short Psalm we read of the Lord’s great love for us, which reminds us of His worthiness of our praise. In Psalm 117:2 it says, For great is His love towards us, and faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. Let this Psalm be a reminder to us all that God’s love and gift of salvation is for all people. Regardless of who they are, if they believe in Him and accept the gift of salvation, then they can be in the presence of the King for all eternity.