Sunday October 26, 2014
If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8: 31, 32, 35, 36)
What is a Slave? This question was asked of my congregation today by our pastor. As I listened to him speak I asked myself – just what is a slave? My answer – A slave is someone who works, or is forced to work for no pay. As this answer played out in my mind a light bulb came on in my head. I made the connection between being a slave to sin by trying to be good enough for God, but never being sure if I have been good enough to attain heaven; versus the freedom I have through faith in Jesus, which does not depend on anything I can do, or have done, but on what He has done for me; with heaven as my sure reward.
There is no reward or pay at the end of the day for slave labor. It is forced compliance to someone else’s will. As a sinner without Christ, I am a slave. I live and work for nothing. So many people in this world think that they can be “good” enough to get into heaven without necessarily professing faith or belief in God.
They may be responsible hard working people and good citizens who love others and obey the laws set before them by the government. But God does not see the good in them because they are not covered in the blood of Jesus by faith. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ…for in Christ Jesus…the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:4, 6)
Lets flip the coin over and ask; What is freedom? According to the worlds definition, freedom is being able to do whatever you want when you want to do it. It means never being required to answer to anyone. But is that true freedom? That may work for this earthly life, but what will happen to you when your life here on earth ends? Will there be a reward at the end of the rainbow? I think not.
True freedom means belonging to the family of Christ. Through faith in Jesus we are covered in His holiness. God does not see the bad in us. When He looks at us He sees His perfect and holy Son. There is a promise connected to the freedom we have in Christ. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3: 29). As heirs of Christ we will receive the reward promised – eternal life. And we don’t have to work for it. It is a free gift offered by God’s grace. The work we do for Christ is done out of love and thankfulness to Him for the sacrifice He made for us and not to help us attain heaven. As believers in Him we already have heaven. We are holy in God’s eyes. The burden of sin has been lifted from our shoulders and laid on Jesus. This is true freedom.
Don’t be a slave working your way through life trying to be good enough for God. Without faith in Jesus He will not even notice you. He will say to you; I don’t know you or where you come from (Luke 13:25). All your hard work will have only led to an eternity in hell. Rather, celebrate the freedom we have through faith in Jesus! Then when you meet Him He will say to you; Well done, good and faithful servant!…Come and share your masters happiness! (Matthew 25:21)
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. (John 6: 27)
Gloria Dei! Amen.