Free in Christ

The Gospel means good news. How many of us really live our lives believing that we are truly free from our sins? Or do you struggle from day to day, living in doubt, and wondering if the Lord could ever really forgive you for your sins? Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30. Do you in reality live your life as if you believe the Savior? Have you shed your burden and found rest for your soul? If your answer is I am not sure or I find no peace, you need to study and pray to find that answer. The Lord tells us we can be certain about our eternal life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13. There is no good reason to remain in doubt any longer. Our Father in Heaven always meant for you to find that peace. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7. GOD loves us and wants all of us to find forgiveness through the knowledge of His Son. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

First, we must understand it is GOD's mercy that will cleanse us of our sins. Not one of us is deserving of forgiveness on our own merit. "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Romans 3:10-12.

Some Christians today believe they will find forgiveness by working harder in His kingdom, when in reality they received forgiveness when they were baptized into Christ. GOD's grace is a 'free gift' based on GOD's mercy and our trust in His promise to cleanse us with the "blood" of His Son Jesus. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. Romans 3:22-25. It is our belief that GOD forgave us because we trusted His Word enough to choose to become a Christian.

We are forgiven through our belief in Christ's sacrifice for us. Our human nature which is constantly tempted by the evil that surrounds us and our weak attempts at performing righteous acts can never measure up to GOD's standards. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6. Instead He wants us to recognize our true state of helplessness and rely on Him alone. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Isaiah 66:2. Only GOD is capable of saving us, and His plan was to save us by sacrificing Jesus on the cross. We only need to remain humble in that recognition of our desperate need for His forgiveness. This forgiveness He offers 'freely' to the humble in heart. Jesus gave this example of forgiveness in Luke 18:10-14. "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men-- robbers, evildoers, adulterers-- or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Christians only need to remain humble in their own eyes and GOD will supply His righteousness through the blood of His Son.

No amount of works done by anyone will gain a person's entrance into heaven. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:4-9. In truth, we do not earn forgiveness by our works. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." Romans 4:3-8. It is God's mercy and our continued trust in His promise that make us free from sin. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:4-6.

Does freedom in Christ mean I do not have to obey God? We must understand it is faith that produces our obedience. GOD expects us to walk as Jesus walked. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:4-6. We must obey GOD from the heart, but GOD knows that our walk will not be perfect. Jesus took that perfect walk for us. We must however continue to walk as Christ did. Romans 7:18-8:2. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind an making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Romans 8:1-2. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Has Jesus set you free from sin? Then do not return to the slavery of the fear of death. Trust Him and His wonderful sacrifice. He never meant for you to carry that cross. It was His alone to carry. As long as you continue to walk in the footsteps of His Word and acknowledge your continued need for His forgiveness, you can count on His sacrifice. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:7-10

Joe Andrasik

Christians may copy this specific tract freely to advance the Gospel of Christ if the content of the message is not changed.

All references are from the New International Version of the Bible, ©1978 by New York International Bible Society.

Published in The Old Paths Archive (