Friday, August 29, 2008
By Ramone - July 12 & August 28, 2008
I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.I can't remember the number of times I heard the phrse, "The truth will set you free!" while I was growing up in a denomination founded on legalism (with "distinctive" doctrines). The way it was quoted by people seemed to indicate that if you accept our unique beliefs (and thus do this, and this, and this), then you will be "set free." It always felt really heavy to most people, though, and I think in order to think that those heavy things were "freedom" you really had to be able to convince yourself hard!
- John 8:34-36
It never occured to me to wonder, "Free... from what?"
Years later having been set free from the heritage of that denomination's legalism and errors, I was sitting in church on a Saturday evening at Jesus Family Center and these were the verses they chose to speak about that night. Because it was all in Japanese I meandered to my own thoughts about the verses and began to wonder, "Free... from what?"
Oh! Read it in context! Freed from slavery. Slavery to what? Slavery to sin!
What's even more interesting is that Jesus said, "The SON sets you free." It's not me that sets me free. It's not something we do, but rather what He does that sets us free. A slave cannot set himself free. But a son can set slaves free.
One of the difficulties of growing up in a legalistic church is that you learn to put on a happy/fine/blessed appearance, and after awhile you begin to ignore or forget your own sins inside. Having been set free from and brought out of the legalistic church, I became acutely more aware of my sins, tendencies, and my "flesh" (as Paul put it). Indeed, at times their pull felt stronger than before.
Now, suddenly, I know my sins and I know I need freedom from them! Now I can see His promise and His deliverance!
I won't explain the many ways that He's used (and is using) to help me experience freedom from old sins, old bondages, but I will explain the foundation: It all begins in knowing that He has set you free. Past tense. It is done! On the cross He took all our sins! Experiencing freedom from them is a continual process of looking to the cross with each of your sins and leaving them there where He took them 2,000 years ago.
Coming to the cross with each sin and difficulty, we see how much we ourselves were unable to let go. But the Son --permanent in Father's love, in His house, upon His throne-- the Son is not and has never been a slave to sin! Only a Son could set us free! Slaves cannot do it, but the Free One Himself has set us free! We had no permanent place in Father's family because we sinned and were slaves to sin. Sin was our master, our owner. But He purchased us from death, from slavery!
By what He has done --not what we have done-- He has given us a permanent place in Father's family. He has given us His own place in Father's family! Seeing this unconditional love and gift of His is the beginning--and end--of our "freedom" from slavery to sins.
Bless you in Jesus as you come to the cross and see that He has taken all your pains, all your griefs, all your sorrows, all your sicknesses, all your sins, all your faults, all your failings -- He has taken them all on Himself and carried them away never to be seen again. He has set you free. Start here at the cross and never leave here! As you begin to live from here, He will show you all you need to further understand and experience His freedom. Thank You, Jesus! Bless you in Jesus!
(Original July 12th sketch)
Thank you for sharing this wonderful concept, Ramone, with a picture and with an explanation. Your writing and your artwork really minister Christ's love to me.