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

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Followers of Christ Have CGCD

We live in an abbreviated society with many associations. We are described and labeled by our distinctions and dialect, our degrees, doctrines, diseases and disorders.

The description of the life of a follower of Christ is a wonderful thing, definitely not a disease or disorder, but a distinction. Let me explain according to the initials CGCD, the abbreviation for Conviction, Guidance, Commitment and Discipline.

Conviction
One becomes a follower of Christ by the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Jesus taught His disciples that when He left them to return to His Father He would send the Holy Spirit ~ the Spirit of truth. He would supernaturally birth them into His kingdom (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3-4).

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

A follower of Christ is convicted. As the Spirit woos and wins us, we receive the guidance of the Spirit of Christ for new and eternal life.

Guidance
Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (john 14:6), promised that the Spirit of truth would guide them into all the truth. This is how He becomes our Shepherd.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:12-13

Commitment
The Spirit of truth is the “Spirit of the Lord”
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
He leads us by His hand of mercy to follow Christ, to offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” to serve Him (Romans 12:1-2).
He leads us to full commitment and obedience to Him, to the truth, and to actively seek His kingdom and righteousness.

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,” Romans 6:17

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

Discipline
With commitment comes discipline as He establishes us as His own. We learn to discipline ourselves as we live under the discipline of the Holy Spirit and His Word.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
Proverbs 12:1

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:19

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Hebrews 12:6-9
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11The apostle Paul in his letter to Titus encourages him to be “hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined (Titus 1:8).

He says of his own life, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3

As followers of Christ we are His special people who gladly accept the description and label as He, by His Grace and His Word, makes us peculiar to the world. No others but those of His family have the life of Christ in them. What a joy it is for people to ask what makes us different, so that we can share Christ with them.

Gracious Father, you have made us precious in your sight. Let us wear the label for your glory. Make your Spirit within us contagious with joy and an excitement that overflows, to your glory and praise. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran, DDC (Devoted Disciple of Christ)

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