Friday, July 4, 2014

In Christ, you are truly free

Since the Garden of Eden Satan has done a really good job at trying to get us to focus on the restrictions of God’s laws rather than the very freedom we have in within them. When Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden, God provided everything for them. His one command was not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17). In this, God gave Adam and Eve a choice to obey Him and His command. The garden was full of trees overflowing with fruit that the couple could eat from. They were even able to eat from the tree of life. Satan wasn’t happy with that at all. He enticed Eve with the law God set. Taking her focus off the freedom she had to eat of any tree, Satan tempted her look at the one restriction God had set.

Satan has an incredible knack for making sin look so good wouldn’t you agree? God gave us laws, first to Adam and Eve in the garden and then to Moses on Mt. Sinai, not to restrict us but to give us the freedom to choose. If God didn’t give us this freedom of choice, we couldn’t choose to obey him. Without choice we’d simply be robots and wouldn’t have the free will to choose Him.

Sin is fun, we can agree on that right? I mean if it wasn’t such a blast – why would we even bother to dabble with it in the first place. But let’s take a look at it this way. God gave the law to Moses “Thou shall not have any gods (idols) before me.” (Exodus 20:1) You might think “Ok that’s easy I don’t have a golden calf or a little idol laying around anywhere so I’m good on that one.” Think again. A “god” is anything in your life on which you place the highest value. For example: Instead of going to church on Sunday mornings you stay home and watch the football game or clean the house or catch up on some much needed sleep. You have just made the TV, the laundry, and your need for sleep your idol because you chose to make that more valuable than going to church to hear the word of God. Ok, I realize the questions that must be popping up in your minds: Don’t watch football? Don’t clean the house? Don’t get the proper amount of rest? What about your career, your friends, a hobby? I’m not saying these things are bad; what I am trying to convey is, if we let them take our focus off God we have just made them an idol.
God wants us to obey him; but he doesn’t force us to. We are free to choose. Just like in the Garden of Eden, they could eat from ANY tree including the tree of life that brought them eternal life. As soon as they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were not only cut off from walking in intimacy with God, they were also cut off from the tree that brought eternal life.

Praise God he gave us Jesus so we could have freedom and eternal life with him. Yes sin looks good… all wrapped up in a “pretty” fun-looking package. But if you look closely all it brings is death.

Romans 7:12-25 (The Message)
 8-12Don't you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of "forbidden fruit" out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God's good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.

 13I can already hear your next question: "Does that mean I can't even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?" No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God's good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own.

 14-16I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.

 17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

 21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

 24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

 25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

No comments:

Post a Comment