…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
If you walk around and take a survey of how many people claim to be Christians in our society today, you will get the majority of people claiming that they are Christians. 76% of American adults claim to be Christians today. That is down from 87% who made that claim back in 1990. The decline of people who are involved in organized religions is increasing every year, not just Christianity, but in any kind of organized religion. Times are changing in the world, both economically and in our views about God. When you hit people in the pocket-book, that definitely will get their attention.
After all, the only reason we ever stay in anything is to attain a certain level of change, when or if, that change never happens, we are looking for the first exit we can find. Patience and long-suffering are not character traits that you see very often anymore today.
Many people get involved with God or a church for a specific reason. They are going through a tough time in their lives, a loved one has died, or they are just experiencing some type of loss that they want an answer for and relief from.
All of us view God, and who we think He is, from the influences we had as a kid. Our parents, economic situation, and total environment, all shaped what we think of God today.
I have talked with many atheists and people from other religious back grounds, and the one common thread that flows through them all is their desire for the truth. Nobody wants to be mislead or bamboozled…we want the truth. If that is you, then what I’m about to say is for you.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
This promise was given to those who believed in Jesus. Jesus said to these believers and followers, that if they abide, or continue with him, that would mean that they are truly His disciples. If they are truly the disciples of Christ and they continue on with Him, they will discover what truth is all about, and this discovery will set them free. You want to know truth, then you might want to check out who Jesus Christ is?
Further down Jesus said in John 8:32, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Freedom at last! But are you really free? Many of us find freedom from addictions, a nagging spouse, a job that is dragging us down, but real freedom comes when you know the truth.
For the Christian, Romans chapters, six, seven, and eight, are the hinges of the door that opens to what the gospel and salvation really mean.
Chapter six, we are free from the penalty of sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Romans chapter eight, we are free from the presence of sin. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
But in Romans chapter seven we find a battle going on inside of every single one of us. Paul expressed this battle that wages in us, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:22-24
Ever experience something like that in your Christian life? “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. ” Romans 7:15-20
Sound familiar? If you are a child of God, by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, then you definitely can relate to what Paul is talking about here. This is the battle of truth that goes on daily in our lives. It’s a constant power struggle over who we are going to believe and follow. Do we follow the sin that has so easily dominated most of our lives, or are we going to yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, that lives inside us, and follow the new person He is creating in us?
What if you had a terrible boss, that no one liked. He was rude and critical and always was yelling at you and ordering you around like you were some incompetent child? He was your boss and you had to do what he said.
One day he gets fired. The office is totally relieved to know that never again will you have to take his orders or do anything that he ever has to say. He’s finished controlling you.
Say you and your spouse are out for a nice dinner. You are really enjoying this nice quiet evening, when in walks your old boss. Just seeing him again makes the hairs on your back stand up. You cower in hopes that he doesn’t see you, but here he comes and he’s walking right over to you.
He walks over to you and he tells you to go over and get him a cup of coffee, and automatically you get up and run to the coffee machine…but wait a minute…he’s not your boss anymore and you don’t have to do anything that he says, remember? He has no more authority or control over you. You can tell him…No! I’m not doing what you tell me to do!
That’s the way it is with sin in our lives. We are the battle ground and Satan and the Holy Spirit are vying for our allegiance. We play a part in all this. Who are you going to go after?
We have been set free, but there is an old master that is not going away. He wants to constantly influence you and me to continue to live life the way we always have, by obeying our sinful cravings and desires.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24
That will be coming in the next article.