“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2nd Corinthians 5: 17)
As Christians, do we live as though we are free? When we become a part of Christ’s family we are radically and fundamentally changed people. This is earthshaking, life-altering, undeniably beautiful truth! We are dead to the bondage of sin, the burden of shame, and all the darkness of evil when we become a Christian. We become alive to God in Christ Jesus. Do we truly believe this? “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:11) Do we live like this is truth?
Since becoming a Christian many years ago I have almost daily felt overcome by my struggles, weighed under by guilt, shame and feelings of depression. I have rather unconsciously believed these struggles will control my life forever. I’ve ignored the freedom that is mine to claim through Jesus, because deep in my heart, I’ve believed these struggles are too much for Christ to conquer. The truth is I may have victory with him each and everyday . . . if I accept it. Believing I will always struggle under the burdens I bear, I will struggle everyday. Only by letting One lift those burdens will I be unburdened. As a Christian I am under freeing grace, not enslaving law.
We live in a “do-it-yourself” world, which for me, allows my heart to easily apply this to the spiritual realm too. As much as I feel like I must analyze my sin, figure out why I do what I do, and then eliminate the problem, the way to life and out of death is not by my own doing. No matter where I try to leave my sin and walk away from it, it will drag after me like a ball and chain unless I lay it in Christ’s hands. Once I stop trying to fix myself and simply allow him to make me whole and clean, I will know freedom.
I believe there are two forces in this universe stronger than any other powers. Believing this I must choose which I believe to be the greater. I will inevitably live for the one my heart believes to be the most powerful in the universe–I will submit to that power, knowing I cannot overcome either. I have chosen to believe Christ has conquered Satan, death, and everything else evil. It’s true Satan has power to sneakily tell me of countless ways I am inadequate to do anything or be anyone of worth. He wants me to believe I have no purpose, but his whispers are lies. I will constantly ask then for the courage to believe Christ’s honesty over these deceptions.
I am of precious worth, I matter, and I was made for a purpose–as are you “[because] he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised . . . All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:15, 18-21)
By God’s grace we are justified, completely forgiven and made righteous. Righteous! This means we are made morally upright; without guilt or sin. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” (Romans 5:18) Christ’s death allows forgiveness and freedom to everyone. Understand this, believe this, I beg you.
“The wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching a mighty host,
By it I have been pardoned, saved to the uttermost,
Chains have been torn asunder, giving me liberty;
The wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
More patient than my fight, more faithful than my doubt,
Persistent though I run, O how his grace abounds!
Broader than my sin, deeper than my shame,
Stronger than my evil, O praise Jesus name!”
— Wonderful Grace of Jesus
I have been made free to praise, sing, dance, and live for the glory of the one who gave my body and soul life. This is good news! Let us rejoice and give thanks! “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)