What does freedom mean to you? This seems like a reasonable question. Freedom for me means peace and confidence in the absolute knowledge that I am a child of God and rightful heir. Freedom means that Jesus Christ is my Savior because of His selfless sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary; being raised from the dead to defeat sin and death once and for all, I too have defeated sin and death.
I don’t take my freedom for granted. I meditate on it and am thankful for it. I respond to it and live by it. But for some, it may be difficult to understand. I lived a life away from Christ for a very long time. I dictated my freedom based on what I could get away with and who I could overtake. It’s a pretty sad story, yet it was all I knew. My life was filled with condemnation coming from every direction. Maybe that’s you as well. But I can tell you, there’s a better way. Without Christ there is condemnation. And condemnation means that you are guilty and there is a price to pay; a penalty. However, with Christ, there is no condemnation! With Christ, there’s now victory instead of defeat, there’s a relationship instead of separation. In Christ, we are no longer guilty and the power of sin has been broken.
Now let’s take it deeper… did you know that you and I were born to be relational? It is birthed in us. From the earliest point, a baby clings to his or her mother. Your relational being was created in the womb. It’s not a legal relationship but rather a personal relationship. Better yet, it’s a covenant relationship. It was God’s plan from the beginning of time to be in a covenant relationship with you and I. Our relationship to sin and death can be broken. Separation from God is a second death, but life in Christ is a new beginning. Our old sinful nature is dead and a new power, a new life is given to us. Life where there is no condemnation, the power of sin is broken and there is no longer any guilt. I may have an old body, but in Christ I have a new power. It’s called resurrection power.
The Law as we know it in the Ten Commandments has no power to make me do anything. Romans 8:3 says, “ For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin; He condemned sin in the flesh.” The law cannot force us to do anything regardless of the “thou shalts” and the “shalt nots”. Only the resurrection power of Christ given to us who believe has any power over sin and the guilt that comes from it. You see, as we place our faith and trust in Jesus, His resurrection power is imparted to us to defeat any sinful influence because Jesus already conquered it. He put it to death.
Jesus Christ condemned sin in the flesh. It was His “JUST” requirement. We are now released to live out our relationship with God through His Spirit. You see, it’s no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20) The power of the Holy Spirit empowers me to say “no” to sin and temptation.
So how can any of us live a life pleasing to God? First, we must develop the proper mindset. In the job that I have, I am often asked to investigate why someone does something that may cause a piece of equipment to fail or even cause someone to get hurt. I often find out through the investigation that the person’s mindset was skewed. Their thought process was off kilter. They may have been pre-occupied with other thoughts than what was needed to do the job safely and efficiently. As Children of God, our mindset is that of the Holy Spirit. The “flesh” will mind the things of the flesh and the spirit will mind the things of the Spirit. Our lives are shaped by what pre-occupies our minds. (Discover the second key on our podcast!)
Friend, all of us must have the right thinking. Since our minds are always on something, we must set our minds on God’s Word and the promises of God. There is power in a right mindset that stays on the Word of God, “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV) The Holy Spirit gives us power to put to death wrong thinking and a wrong will. It’s all about a cooperation between your mind and your will. For me, it was a change of motivation. I desired to be a slave to God and His righteousness rather than a slave to sin and the guilt that comes with it.
We can be set free from both the power of sin and the guilt of sin. We have been released to live out our relationship with God through the power of His Holy Spirit. Our mindset and motivation can be changed. Take some time this week to listen to the podcast of Pastor Aaron Taylor as he leads you through Romans Chapter 8 and how we have freedom over the power of sin and guilt at http://painesvilleag.com/a-study-in-romans.