What shall we say then?
Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death,
in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
We know that our old self was crucified with him
in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing,
so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
For one who has died has been set freefrom sin.
Reflecting upon a time when he was asked to speak to a group of prison inmates in Ukraine, Donald M. Fairbairn Jr., PH.D., writes:
As I thought about what I might say, my mind turned to these two passages [Matthew 27:46; Hebrews 13:5]. Forsakenness – that was something these men would know about. Their society had locked them up, abandoned them. True, [the guilty] deserved it. But in a sense we all deserve something worse than being abandoned by our society. We have all turned away from God, whether actively and obviously, or through more passive neglect of God as we go about our lives. [Because of this,] we all deserve to be forsaken by God.
In light of Dr. Fairbairn’s hard-hitting truth, then, how precious, how priceless – how perfect –
the pardon from Christ and independence from this world that is ours solely through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, who chose to be forsaken that we may be eternally, whole-heartedly, completely freed from the prison walls of hell.
So during this week as we bustle about with preparations for celebrating the independence of the United States of America on July 4th– and as we move through every other day of the year, for that matter – what does the idea of freedom mean to you as a follower of Christ?
For me, freedom in its grandest form has been found first in the grace-driven death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also in the unlikely element of a pursuit of non-negotiable obedience to Him. In seeking to follow daily the Father’s written instruction, then asking for and acting upon wisdom from His Holy Spirit, there is freedom – the sweetest freedom – from worry, from fear, from guilt, from anxiety.
Because what remains in that freedom is the quiet, inner peace of knowing that by true and genuine obedience to God one has done all one can do in any aspect of life.
And that Jesus – on our behalf – can and will take it from here. Printed in Journey to the Resurrection 2013, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.
– Copyright 2019, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.