We have been set free! - 2 July 2019

Ewald Schmidt

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8: 1–2

Where does our journey of faith begin? When I was still a young believer, I thought that the Christian way of life was comprised of a lot of things I should avoid at all cost. I should not drink, or smoke, swear or dance, or listen to pop music. It was hard growing up in the ‘80s! I had tried so hard to avoid all bad things, and thought if I tried hard enough, I would avoid sinning too. As a young believer, I had been very legalistic, like good the old-fashioned Pharisees. I tried to earn God’s grace by doing good. But still there were always the feelings of guilt, and some nagging thoughts about whether I had done enough. A teenage boy does have a real battle to avoid looking at the pretty girls in a worldly manner!

The book of Romans helps us to discover the grace of God. Romans 3 described the position of the Law for us. When a Jew talked about “The Law” he did not only talk about the Ten Commandments. It was the term for the first five books, the Pentateuch. Now the books of Numbers and Leviticus really contain lots of laws, with some difficult concepts like circumcision, the keeping of the Sabbath and other Jewish Festivals, and the measures of taking revenge when someone has wronged you – e.g. an eye for an eye. The Apostle Paul said the Law is in of itself not sin, but it was given to teach us what sin is. The function of the Law is to show us how great our need for the mercy of God is in our lives. Grace that we could not possibly earn in any way.

The Holy Spirit directs us to the Origin of grace. He introduces us to Jesus Christ. Romans 3:21 reveals that our justification does not come about by keeping the law, but by believing in Christ alone. Without being deserving of any of it, we were forgiven by believing that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. The law of the Spirit tells us about Jesus, and our faith has given us a new life through him. Now we are living a life of gratitude – we have been set free. That is the work of God the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have come to set me free. I cannot earn your grace, or pay for it with any form of currency. But you have died to save me. Thank you for the new life I have received through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life! Holy Spirit, come and heal me, transform my life in the likeness of Christ. Amen.

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