Free in Christ

I served in the U.S. Navy for 8 and one-half years, five of those years on the same Submarine, the USS Trout (SS-566).  When I first became a Christian some of my shipmates said, “Woody has got religion!”

There are many religions in the world including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.  Each requires strict adherence to a set doctrine or list of rules.  Christ did not come to issue a new set of rules to live by, he came to rid humankind of the guilt of sin and have a relationship.

There is a tendency to make Christianity simply a religion among religions of the world; just a different set of rules and doctrine.  It is not so.  Christianity is about a relationship with the founder – Jesus Christ.

G.C. Brewer wrote, “People would rather Jesus give us a set of rules to save ourselves rather than accept him as Savior.”  In his 2013 book entitled, “gods at war,” Kyle Idleman wrote, “One of the most common gods of success is the worship of religious rules. We put our trust in our own mastery of rule keeping. The god of success invites you to save yourself instead of depending upon Jesus to do it.” (P. 135)

Paul had lived under the restraints of Moses’ law, but he gave all of that up for a relationship with Christ (Philippians 3:2-11).  In his letter to the Galatians he wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

The big deal in your life and mine is to decide WHO Jesus is.  Is he the Son of God or not? In Matthew 16 Jesus asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”   It was Peter who had the insight to respond, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Peter was right on!  Then Jesus revealed that it would be upon this truth that he would build his church.  His church is us, me and you.  Acknowledging and receiving this truth is what gives us freedom.

“Jesus paid it all.” “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”  “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) It appears that this revelation has been hacked. Jesus stated plainly that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Adding obligations takes away freedom. Often it is more about tradition and ritual than it is about Christ.

Ask yourself, “What have I put my trust in?”

When Paul was fighting within himself about his imperfections he exclaimed, “What a wretched man I am!”  And then he cried out, “WHO will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)  Notice, he did not ask “what” can rescue me.  There is no system of religion that will erase our sin. Jesus alone has paid that price.

At the end of his life Paul wrote Timothy, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12b)

Jim Woodell, Executive Director
John 3:17 Ministry for Women