Monday, August 16, 2010

True Freedom, Romans 8

After being kicked out of the worship service, this faithful pastor remained in the same city and reached a new group of people. They had terrible problems with sin, but the pastor struggled daily, teaching them and discipling them. These problems made him think of a church that he heard good things about, but had never visited. He longed to visit the church where a group of Christians from different races gathered together and needed guidance that he could give, but he had made a commitment to go on a mission trip. So until he could finish the missions trip and visit this other church, he wrote them a letter to help guide their theology. He put it into the hands of a deaconess, sent her off, and while Phoebe carried the letter to Rome, the pastor—the Apostle Paul—would never make it to that Roman Church. He finished taking money to Jerusalem for the famine, but was arrested, and though he did go to Rome, it was to a prison. How ironic that he spent 3 chapters of the letter to the church in Rome on sin’s slavery of us, our attempts to wrestle free of it, and the freedom that comes finally through Jesus Christ.

Today I want to tell you what Apostle Paul wrote to Rome from Corinth about how you can find freedom. You’ll see in verses 1–4 how True Freedom comes through Jesus Christ, and staying free comes through Jesus Christ.
1)Find True Freedom through Jesus Christ (1–2)
(READ IT) True Freedom is freedom from sin and its punishment comes from Jesus Christ
There is freedom from condemnation of sin and it comes through Jesus Christ
But someone is asking, “Freedom from what?” GOOD QUESTION
The “therefore” in verse 1 means look before chapter 8 in order to understand chapter 8. Chapters 6–7 established that we are hopelessly bound by sin all our lives.
What does all this mean? The truth about our history is that we all have a common ancestor—not Cromagnum man, but Adam and Eve. They sinned, and fell from grace, and we are stuck in sin and unable to find freedom from doing bad and feeling bad. But when you believe in Jesus Christ’s death on your cross, and Him getting up from your grave, the punishment of sin is gone forever! No more paying for your sins! No more condemnation!
You can break free of prison, you can break free of a bad job, you can get freedom from an abusive relationship, but all of those things are temporary freedom in this temporary life.
The only freedom you can experience that is forever is freedom in Jesus Christ from sin by believing in His death for you, and His resurrection so you will rise again. Then, and only then, will you be in the land of the free!
Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
Jesus said in Luke 4, after reading this from a scroll in a Nazareth synagogue worship setting, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” (Luke 4:21). Jesus came to bring freedom! You can be free. The birdcage has been opened and He holds out his hand and welcomes you to come out!
We don’t understand how good we have it in America, freedom to believe, speak, and act as we desire. It costs a lot of lives! As of February 23, 2010, 4,379 U. S. troops had been killed in Iraq since the 2003 Operation began.
Freedom from our destination of sin was free for us, but it cost God the life of His Son Jesus Christ!
When I was a student at Moody Bible Institute, our education was tuition free. It cost, but not nearly as much as it should have, thanks to generous donors. Once, a professor heard us talking about how great this was, and corrected us. He said we shouldn't say our education is tuition free because it isn't. It was free for us, but our freedom cost someone else. Instead, we should refer to it as a tuition paid education. With your salvation, it was not free. It was only free for you.
The opportunity for you to Find Freedom from sin fractured the Trinity! The error in human judgment cost God the Son His life because He loves you. Jesus came to set people free from sin. Why? God has a better life for humanity than to leave us in our sin.
That means when you see an oil spill, a terrible economy, political and spiritual leaders failing morally, friends and families breaking apart because of sin, that there is hope for a better life in Jesus Christ!
If you’re waiting for political leaders to change the world for the better, you’ll wait a long time.
If you’re waiting for everything to be like the good old days, you’ll be waiting a long time.
If you’re waiting for a little more money, that husband or wife to change, that car to die so you can buy another, that house to get fixed—if anything in this world is your hope for happiness you’ll be waiting a long time!
But if you’re counting on Jesus of Nazareth, and His freedom, and counting on releasing your life to His hands, you can find peace and happiness today!
Like tired soldier whose heavy pack is suddenly lifted, so Jesus Christ will lift the load of sin today! In time the guilt will fade, and you will experience freedom.
Find Freedom in Jesus Christ

Not only can you find freedom through Jesus Christ, but . . .
2) Staying Free comes through Jesus Christ (v. 3–4)
That which freed us and continues to free us from sin and its results is the new law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, not the law of sin and death (v. 2–3)
This word for “set you free” is eleutherosen, that means “to cause someone or something to be free from domination.” That word is used also in John 8:32, “then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” v. 36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
It means Jesus Christ not only sets us free once, but is the One who sets us free daily from the domination of our own sin. Vv. 3–4 (READ IT)
Remember “therefore” in v. 1? It’s there because of chapters 6–7. 7:16 tells us, “And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.” When you sin, you feel guilty, and you desire to be better. How do you know when you’re acting “better”? God’s Law.
V. 7:17, “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”
V. 21–25a (READ IT) “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Although the Law of God is perfect (Psalm 119), reviving the soul, we made it weak by staining it with our sinful hands (8:3), and no matter how many good works you do, they can’t affect your salvation. All of humanity's best isn't enough, and humanity made God's law weak due to infecting it with sin.
Recently I heard of a terrorist plot discovered and disarmed in NY. Russian spies recently were caught and rounded up in Texas. These people were planning on hijacking the nation! When you take your salvation back into your own hands, you are hijacking the new life God is trying to build in you!
This is practical, because everyone sins. Daily, weekly, we slip and sin or deliberately do what we should not. Then we feel guilty (unless it’s such a habit that you’re callous), and then you desire to “fix it” by fasting, giving more money, punishing yourself somehow, doing something good for someone else.
But you didn’t save yourself, and you can’t erase sin by doing good! But Jesus Christ can fix our sin not only the day we’re saved, but the day afterwards, the month after that, 10 years later, and forever!
That’s what this means in Romans 8:4, “so that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not walk according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.”
So how do we live in true freedom? Verse 4 says to walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:16, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” WALK IN THE SPIRIT, AND HAVE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST. Again, it was not possible any other way except by God, and we owe God an enormous debt because God did it!
A little boy once made a wooden boat, working and slaving away until he thought it was the image he had in his mind. He put it into the water, and a wind carried it unexpectedly away from him, and kept carrying it away until he lost sight of it. The boat didn't turn up anywhere. Months went by of him looking for it. Finally, near Christmas time, he spied it in a toy store window. It had his specific marks of craftsmanship and planing. He raced into the store and told the owner, "That's my boat! Where did you find it?" The owner replied, "I'm sorry, but that's my boat. If you want it, you'll have to pay for it." The price was high, but the boy paid it without thinking. As he left the store, with a smile that couldn't be erased, the boy carressed the boat and said, "You’re twice mine. Mine because I made you, and now, mine because I bought you.”
That is exactly what God did to each person who found freedom in Jesus Christ. When you came to Him and threw your future into His lap, His word says in Luke 15:7 and 10 that the angels in heaven throw a party over every lost sinner who repents! God achieved what the best standard of achievement could not—freedom from sin and its condemnation
Maintaining holiness is not within our power; it is available through the power of the Holy Spirit in you. But you can’t fix it yourself.
We try to fix our own lives, and that’s why it doesn’t work. The spiral of sin keeps going downward, because as we sin and try to fix our salvation ourselves, we can’t do it. So we try harder. Then we can’t do that, so we try harder.
No matter how hard you try, you will never plant a neat row of corn on a paved highway in the middle of Darlington! In order to grow corn on Highway 23, you need to completely change the nature of the ground! Tear it up! Out with the old asphalt, and in with the new, fertile soil!
God did it! He completely changed your heart by His grace so that you heard and understood His offer of salvation. That’s why you need to depend on the Holy Spirit in you when you sin, and confess it to God, and walk by the Spirit.
The reason some of you are hurting is because you are caught in sin and like an animal in a trap you got into it but can’t get out. The more you are in there, the worse it gets, and now you’ve lost hope. You say, “I can’t fix it. I don’t know how I’m going to make it. I, I, I, I, I!”
Christian, God didn’t save you to abandon you. He’s waiting for you to call to Him “Help!”
Like a child learning to walk, who needs to be picked up because he falls, so you need to be picked up. God wants to, and reaches out His hands every time we fall.
Verse 4, “that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in . . .” who? “in us!” You! Me! Every true Christian since this Bible was written!

What will you do? What should you do? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Call on Him today, and tell God “I want the freedom that comes through Jesus Christ.” If you are a believer stuck in Romans 7, cry out to Him and depend on Him. Reclaim that freedom in Him.

Please contact us with any prayer requests, questions on this, or needs.
in Jesus,
Nate Whiteside

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