Free to Love

(Introduction The Danger of Freedom and Bound by Grace brings us to this last post on the matter of freedom.)

When God sent Moses to Egypt, He had a single purpose for delivering the Israelites from their bondage. Like Adam and Eve, acting in rebellion against Him, they had been taken into captivity. For seventy years they had been in slavery (the same number of years they had rebelled against God’s Word in profaning the Sabbath).

It was an act of God’s grace, through Moses, that they were led out of Egypt to serve Him, to worship Him, to be brought into a land of promise – a new land where they would know the freedom God wanted for them.

Shortly after given this freedom from their hard labor, they rebelled against Moses’ leadership, even asking to go back to Egypt. They did not trust God to provide for them. Neither did they worship Him according to His will.
At Mt. Sinai, the multitude influenced Aaron to make a golden image and sinned in their idol-worship. They never experienced the reality of freedom. It was only the second generation that survived and entered the land of Canaan under Joshua’s leadership.

The Law presented at Mt. Sinai, was not written in stone for their freedom. It was God’s means of showing them and future generations His kingdom of love. Through His law, He planned to bring to Himself a helpless and hopeless people who knew they could not live in full obedience to His Law. Even as He proved Adam and Eve helpless without His continual presence and leading, so He proved man cannot live in obedience to His will except by His continual power spiritually working in them. In Ezekiel 36:26, He promised He would displace the stony heart of man with a new heart and spirit.

A New Covenant
The writer of Hebrews quoted to the Hebrew Christians the promise of a new covenant in Jeremiah 31:33 to the house of Israel. The Law through Moses was the old covenant – the Old Testament revelation of God’s kingdom. The new covenant would be written in their hearts.

For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:8-10, 13

This new covenant — the New Testament revelation — is a covenant of redemption through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. His death was counted as the punishment for our sins – a propitiation (1 John 4:10).

His sacrifice was planned to appease the wrath of God and set us free from condemnation under the law and from the power of sin.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4

The Covenant of Grace
This new covenant is the Covenant of Grace, by which He binds us to Himself and through which, we are delivered from our bondage to serve Him. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that fills His people with the desire and the freedom to obey His written Law. It is the new heart and a new spirit that loves as God loves – a heart that loves His law (Psalm 1) and a spirit that rejoices to live in obedience to Him.

As we are bound to Him through His covenant, we are free to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Every hindrance has been removed that would keep us from loving Him and others.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

  But if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Those led by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13) understand that the law is written in our hearts; as we meditate on His Law – His Word, we hide it in our hearts so that we will not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). We are not under the law but we live freely under the power of His Spirit to love Him and others; we establish the law (Romans 3:31) by faith in His salvation from the bondage of sin.

Dear heavenly Father, you bought us by the blood of your Son.  You sought us as your lost sheep, brought us to yourself, bound us by your Covenant of Grace, and taught us the law of your kingdom so that we live freely in love and obedience within a corrupt society. Guide us each day by your Holy Spirit. Let us love as you love – for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran
O Wretched Creature That I Am

Images: Google

The Double Curse and The Triple Blessing

As I am being absorbed in my meditations in Galatians there are some amazing things that are surfacing. These things are relative to what is going on in my own life, but are deeper even than I first observed them. This is what I call the miracle of meditation. The longer I remain in thought of a certain truth of God’s word the more it takes root, and the more it grows and reveals more than I knew before; and the more it affects my whole life.

Such is the subject of curses and blessings in the Bible. And I will speak of two main curses.

The first one was pronounced on all mankind in the garden when Adam and Eve rejected God’s word as truth. They disobeyed because the enemy convinced them that God was a liar. The curse of death came upon them and all their posterity; and since then all die.

The second curse came from Mt. Sinai in the Ten Commandments, which God gave Moses for a special people.   His law was given to those He had chosen to represent Him. But, just as His first image-bearers failed, so did the nation that He had chosen.

The law, instead of leading them to obedience, and therefore restoring mankind in a right relationship with God, became a curse to them and us. It was a law too strict, and impossible for them to obey, but as we continue in God’s Word we see that there was purpose in God giving man more than he could do.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Curses and oppressions are part of the same nature of man. The state of oppression is the natural state in which all men have lived, since the beginning of man’s unbelief and disobedience. The oppressive spirit is the natural spirit of men who live under a curse. The oppression began with the enemy, bringing man into his camp,  setting God’s creation against Him, and serving his purposes. The antithesis between Satan and God has been continual until this day.

But, God didn’t just leave us there, accepting the oppression against Himself. The curses upon us are His activity against us. So, from both directions we are oppressed. On both sides we are hemmed in, between Satan and God. We are prisoners in our individual oppressive spirit and state of being. When we experience the adversities of this life it is natural for this spirit to strike out against another or for us to remain aloof from relationships that God created as good. Such was the case with Cain and Abel. Such are relationships within families and nations today.

As long as there is life on earth these curses stand. All are born under these curses into this oppressive state. Only God, who pronounced the curses, can deliver us from them. The means is by reversal. Through disobedience the first curse came. Through disobedience the second curse remains in effect.

It is only through obedience that we are set free from these curses.
OBJECTION 1:  Death cannot be reversed.

That is correct, if all we mean is physical death. But God (who is Spirit) created man in the likeness of His own image to live eternally.   All will die physically, but every soul will live eternally. The removal of the curses assures us of eternal life with Him. Those who continue under the curses will experience an eternal death and oppressive state. We will not go into how God’s Word describes eternity for those who die under the curse of death and the law.

OBJECTION 2:  Only one man has been able to obey the Ten Commandments.

So we see that man is unable to deliver himself from these curses.

Promises of Deliverance
God set things in His own way and will, to deliver from the curses, as He had planned before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:2-6  The law shows how destitute we are and where we continue to fall.  He wants us to fall, on our knees before Him, in agreement of our sin and our inability to save ourselves; to come in our sin and repentance, believing His promises of salvation.

Let us meditate on His promises of deliverance. They are the promises of a “great salvation” revealed in His Word to us by His Holy Spirit.

Obedience, the requirement of the law, is possible only by faith. Faith is possible only by grace, as a gift, and not of our own work. Ephesians 1:8-10  Faith is as difficult as obedience.

His Spirit reveals God’s grace through His Word. This grace is revealed in and through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He is the deliverer, the Savior of those who believe in Him; those the Father draws to Him with a new heart and a new spirit. (Ezekiel 36:26) This is a supernatural work by His Spirit. His Spirit uses the Word to convince and bring us with new hearts to Him.  When we reject His truth of His Son, Jesus Christ, for salvation, we are of the same nature of our first parents; in essence still calling God a liar. (1 John 5:10-12)
Some might even call this a third curse.

Paul explains this in Romans 7:24, and 8:1-2.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Paul’s greeting to the church in Galatia was, “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Galatians 1:3-5

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us;” Galatians 3:13

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Galatians 4:4-7

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Galatians 5:13-14

“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:12

So how do we know if we are still under the curse; or if we are free. Read Galatians 6:7-8 ~ “be not deceived.”

The Triple Blessing
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” Ephesians 1:3  0001iY

Dear Father, we need your blessings today as we desire to live by the obedience of faith that is ours in Christ Jesus and the power of your Holy Spirit.  Fill us with your love, the love that has set us free to love as you love.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Related Article:  Deliverance From Oppression