The grace of Almighty God brings freedom that can only be described as miraculous.
I have watched the slavery of severe addiction to narcotics and alcohol instantly broken. It has been my privilege to see families transformed when an angry mom or dad was set free from a life controlled by bitterness and anger.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ They answered Him, ’We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed’” (John 8:31-36 NKJV).
Can you imagine the sheer audacity of the statement, “We… have never been in bondage to anyone?”
Do they not remember Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, the Medes and Persians, or Greece? At that very moment Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, and a Roman army were controlling the affairs of Israel?
That is the deception of sin.
How many times have people said, “I can quit cigarettes, alcohol, or meth any time I want”?
When the Son of God makes one free, they are truly free.
He has the power not only to break the addiction but to transform the heart. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14 NKJV)?
It is a pseudo-freedom that says, “I am at liberty to live any way I wish.” Jesus and the early Apostles knew the danger of such freedom and provided clear warning.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1-2 NKJV).
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJV).
Grace and freedom that do not lead the individual to a greater and greater measure of living in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ is not true freedom.
The Apostle John said, “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:4-7 NKJV).
A true disciple of Jesus Christ lives with an ever increasing measure of light and a decreasing measure of darkness in their heart.
This reflects an ever increasing measure of holiness and decreasing measure of sinful attitude and behavior.
True freedom is not the liberty to live any way you wish, but the liberty to live a holy life.
Grace does not give liberty to live free from the law, but the power to live in the freedom of the law.
That is the amazing tension between grace and law.
Legalism seeks to earn God’s love and favor through keeping religious practice and a set of moral rules.
Grace brings one into “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2-3) and the freedom to live a holy life through grace and the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit within you.
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors — not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:12-14 NKJV).
That is true freedom!