Sunday, 1 March 2009

Free indeed

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" John 8:36 (ESV)

'Free': what springs to my mind (thanks to the all seeing eyes of my Facebook account) is the project run by UCCF in unis across the UK, to make copies of Mark's gospel available to thousands of students: at Oxford, Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Southampton, Lancaster, Durham, Oxford Brookes, Manchester...

But what does it mean to be free? How can we be free?

Earlier on in this section of John, in verses 31 and 32, Jesus says to 'those who believed in him' that those who abide in his word are not only 'truly his disciples' but will know 'the truth', and that is what will set them free.

The truth is mind blowing:

although we have sinful attitudes towards God and our own destructive way leads to an empty future doomed forever without God's good presence, Jesus, by his death on the cross, took all our sin on his shoulders and suffered the punishment we deserve instead of us(

And if we trust in this amazing grace alone (Romans 3:24) and not in what we try to do ourselves to gain this gift (freely given)(Romans 11:6 & Ephesians 2:8-10 ), we will not only end up in Heaven after we die, but be accepted into God's diverse and huge family (Galations 3:26), be able to have a personal, living, real relationship with the most powerful being in this whole universe (Romans 1:20), who loves us more than we can ever dare to hope or know (Psalm 36:5).

For Christians this is great news: we can live life to the full certain of God's marvellous faithfulness and salvation (Psalm 145:13). No longer do we have to make sure we read our Bibles, pray certain prayers, go to church, try to be 'religious' or 'a good person' or try and work our way to be with our Creator.

(Praying and studying the Bible stems from our desire to know Jesus better and to get more to grips with God's word; the change in our behaviour and attitudes is through the Holy Spirit, which we now have a portion (Ephesians 1:13), filling and helping us to live for His glory (Romans 6:4) )

Personally I feel no longer bound to sin: God has dealt with it all and gives me strength to turn away. I still stumble, but I know I am safe in His hands.

If you've never really properly considered why you're here, or what will await you after you die, I urge you to think again. Things in this life may seem fulfilling, but are they really? Friends, family, an excellent career, outstanding qualifications, money, fame, sex and generally having a good time may seem like fairly concrete and main priorities for you right now, but all these things can vanish in the blink of an eye (Ecclesiastes 6:12).

And they will, when, on an unknown day, your life will end, like everyone else.

There is only one person who loves the entire world (John 3:16), only one person who truly saves (Romans 5:9-11) and only one person who can satisfy you completely (Psalm 73:25-26).

Reach out and touch the nail marks (John 20:27): Jesus brings life and freedom to all those who seek it (John 10:10). What a thing to rejoice in! Let's thank Jesus for His desire to tear the shackles away, weighing us captives down with the penalty of our sin (Romans 6:22), and His grace liberating us, making us free indeed.

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