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July 7, 2013

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L. John Bost

L. John Bost

Last week: What Did Jesus Say About Homosexual Marriage?.

On July 4, Americans celebrated Independence Day, commemorating the signing of the Declaration Of Independence from Great Britain, on July 4, 1776. We set aside that day each year for a special celebration of that signing, and the freedom from British Tyranny, that was obtained after winning the Revolutionary War on October 17, 1781. Christians, too, have an independence to celebrate. Let us consider the Christian's Independence for a moment.
As with every American, words such as liberty, free, and freedom, are important to every Christian. In Luke 4:16-21, Jesus went into a Jewish synagogue in Nazareth and read a passage from Isaiah 61:1:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
In verse 21, Jesus said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." Jesus had come to bring the liberty that Isaiah had foretold!
In Galatians 5:1, Paul writes, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Liberty simply means freedom. From what is a Christian free?
In context, Paul is referring to the Christian's liberty from the Old Jewish Law handed down through Moses at Mt. Sinai. That Law was a law of bondage, because only those who kept it perfectly, which none could do, could be justified by it (See Galatians 5:3; 3:10; James 2:10). So important is it that a Christian not be "entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Of the Old Law), that Paul writes in verse 4, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace!" Those who were never under the Law (Gentiles, anyone who is not a Jew), must not put himself under it, not should Jews who have become Christians seek to return to bondage under it.
Man in bondage The greatest problem that anyone could have is bondage to sin. Jesus speaks of this John 8:31-34. He says in verse 32, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Truth is the Word of God (See John 17:17). Please read Romans 6:1-18. In verses 16-18, Paul writes:
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
So Paul argues that one who has become free from bondage to sin must not become enslaved again therein. He writes in verses 22-23, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
How does one become free from bondage to sin? Paul writes in Rom 6:17-19 (NKJV), "Though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." What is the "form of doctrine" that Paul speaks of? Remember that Jesus said in John 8:32, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." He said in Mark 16:15-16, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Peter commanded his audience in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Ananias instructed Saul in Acts 22:16, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Paul writes in Romans 10:9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Man with arms open in freedomSo, when one believes in Jesus Christ, confesses his faith in Him, and is baptized, his sins are washed away, and he is free!
Are you free from sin? Have you "obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you?" Why not do it today? Contact a church of Christ in your area for assistance.
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