Janice Joplin once said, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." I wonder what hurt and pain gave birth to that lyric. There are some things in our life that we need to be free from. Other things we need to be rooted and planted firmly in. We are created in the image and likeness of God! We are children of God! We were created to be in harmony and relationship with God. Unfortunately we rebelled against God and through that rebellion, sin entered. From that time on we have a "bend towards sin." The theological word for that is concupiscence. Concupiscence means the beginning of a process, an ardent, usually sensual longing. We have a bend toward sin, it is in our fallen natures.
We are born slaves to that sinful nature. The Bible tells us that God sets us free. God sets us free through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. More specifically, we are set free from the demands of the law because Jesus lived the perfect life we can not live and paid the price for our sin by his innocent suffering and death on the cross. In the book of Galatians, St. Paul writes, "Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you..............it is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather use your freedom to serve one another in love, that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: “Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom." Galations 5:1,13-14 Message.
Most of us are probably still laboring under the impression that freedom comes first in our circumstances, and then we can experience love, joy, peace, patience, and all the other wonderful fruits of the Spirit. Not so! God usually begins first with the transformation of our attitudes; then He can change our circumstances. "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...." Romans 12:2 ESV
Did you know that you have been set free from sin? Do you know that you now have a good heart? It's true! It happened in the coming of Jesus Christ for you. "Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin miserable life removing us from sin's every beck and call. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your native tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God! That is what Jesus did! A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death." Romans 6:6,11: 8:2 MSG
We are on the threshold of a new year. Not a single day of 2022 has yet been made much less lived. Make a choice to live each day in freedom and love. May we choose to serve our Lord and our neighbors each and every day. Happy New Year! I look forward to living out God's great commission together with you in this place at this time!