BLOG: Today is the 4th of July. On this day the colonies declared their independence from England. The War for Independence followed, and for eight bloody years, people gave their lives and futures and for an idea that all men are created equal.
We are studying the Book of Romans in our Advance Life Group on Wednesdays. And if I were to imagine the Apostle Paul being in the same room as Thomas Jefferson or George Washington I think that he would agree with the following statement, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
He wouldn't care about politics, but he would care about something much higher - eternal life.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned
Everyone needs freedom. Freedom from the bondage of sin, which ruins lives and leads to death. Physical and spiritual.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But how can we embrace this gift from God for ourselves?
John wrote in 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
But how can we "ask" to be forgiven? Jesus gave His life on a cross for you and me. We fight a war that we cannot win. That war is against our sin and selfish desires. (James 1:13 - 15) Jesus came and did for us what we couldn't do for ourselves.
But that is only the beginning.
Romans 6:6 - 8 6 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. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Our freedom is discovered through repentance, but it is realized in our faithfulness.
Paul uses water baptism to illustrate. Just as we are immersed (that's what the word Baptism means) in water, we identify with Jesus' death. But as we come out of the water, we identify with His resurrection. The old man goes in, but a new creation in Christ Jesus comes out. (2 Cor 5:17)
Now here's the BIG DEAL! If that part of you that likes to sin and offend God is put to death, then it has no hold over you. You are set free!
So how do you live free every day?
1 Cor 15:31 . . . I die every day! Paul tells the church that he puts his sinful self down every day.
Recognize and acknowledge your weaknesses. (I have an anger problem, I have a lust problem, etc.)
Pray and ask God to keep you from temptations and away from Satan (Matthew 5)
Focus on your Savior, not on your sin. Do what He wants you to do, don't argue with your sinful self. (Sometimes you have to tell yourself to shut up.)
Live like Christ. No, you're not perfect, and He isn't expecting you to be. He is looking for you to be faithful, to increase in your faith, and to live more like Him every day.
PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to be set free from my sinful ways and to follow You in such a way as to honor You. AMEN