Are you truly free in Christ?

IMGP6872 by Alexbraum

Are you truly free in Christ, or is that freedom qualified in some way? Maybe some little tiny way?

Jesus Christ, and Him alone.  (Word and Sacrament)

He is the Word, and He is the Sacraments. Since He commanded that we baptize, He is the Baptizer. Since He commanded that we eat His body and blood, He is the body and blood.

So what about the add on’s?

There are Popes and Bishops ordained in historic episcopacy. There are good works. There are decisions for Jesus, and there is your ‘serious effort’. There are inerrant Bibles, and there are uses of the law other than to expose us and drive us to Christ. There are annointings of the Holy Spirit. There are speaking in tongues. There are fruits of the Spirit. There’s membership in particular churches who alone know the truth. I’m quite sure there are many things which I missed that people say are necessary for one to be a true Christian.

Can you think of others? And are some of these folks correct? Is there a little bit more that we need to add to Christ and His finished work?

Thanks.

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Thanks to flickr and Alexbraum, for the photo.

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11 Responses

  1. How about this one Steve…

    Jesus is a means to greater joy.
    Jesus is a means to holiness.

    Vs.

    Jesus is my joy.
    Jesus is my holiness.

  2. Pastor Matt,

    That is a good one.
    Using Jesus to boost us up into the saddle is the #1 sport in much of the church today.

    Thanks, my friend.

  3. I think many are confused by the meaning of “freedom,” which they understand in a worldly, anarchist context. Being free means, as Paul states in Eph 2:5, to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The notion of “being free to sin” is an oxymoron. The notion of walking in love (aka choosing the narrow path) does not qualify freedom, it is merely descriptive of freedom.

  4. I think you are right, Alden. Oftentimes people do confuse freedom for license.

    Theologically speaking we are truly free. There really is nothing that we do, and the word is NOTHING, that is needed from our end towards our righteousness or salvation.

    I think that those who have truly heard this gospel, freedom carrying message, will not be looking to sin willy nilly and take advantage of their freedom, but instead will use that freedom for the good of others.

  5. Some folks feel an absolute need to tell everyone else around them who’s in and who’s not… or who is teetering on the edge. I have to admit I find the whole freedom issue a bit confusing to talk about but I know we are free because Christ says so. As a Southern Baptist we define freedom as ability to “not do certain activities” that are incompatible with being a Christian… dancing or having a beer with the guys and hoping at some point to be able to have the floor to discuss the true meaning of life… reconciliation to God through Christ; but heaven forbid one discuss the things of God with a beer in your hand. How we have made moral transformation the point of the Gospel rather than Christ’s work is beyond me.

  6. “How we have made moral transformation the point of the Gospel rather than Christ’s work is beyond me.”

    Hi Mitchell,

    I think it’s in our DNA. The law is written upon our hearts and we just naturally default there (to what we do, or don’t do). I thinl that’s we need to constantly hear what Christ has done for us. We need the law to work on us and drive us to Christ and we need to have that gospel freedom DONE to us…over and over and over again.

    My 5 cents (inflation is kicking in)

  7. Steve,
    Yeah I hear you. I have been thinking though with some of the discussion on GC. Is there really such a thing as full assurance in our standing before God this side of heaven? The only peace I have found is in the fact that I know I’m a sinner and fully qualify for forgiveness from God through Christ. If I look at myself and my moral transformation I find good and bad… but Paul says even my good is really filthy rags. I love the reformation distinction of “Christ for me… outside of me.” That what saves me is Christ in His work 2000 years ago. Any thoughts.

  8. Mitchell,

    Right. 2000 years ago…and today.

    He saves us anew each day when we walk away from Him. He comes after us, leads us to repentance, and brings us home, yet once again.

    That’s why Luther said that we ought return to our Baptisms daily. That we could have the assurance that even though we still sin, the Lord has promised to be our God and forgive our sins and grant us salvation, day after day, after day. St. Paul says that “we are being saved”. And then there’s the Lord’s Supper. More assurance for us from outside our selves. More tangible assurance so we don’t have to muck around with our feelings and our thoughts and our …whatevers.

    The Sacraments are a real gift. I do believe that the Lord knew (knows) what we do this whole salvation project when we get our hands on it. So He decided to take it out our hands and cram it down our throats, instead. 😀

  9. How about have you ever walked the aisle and asked Jesus into your heart? I was plagued for years with whether or not I had said the right words to Jesus. All I can say concerning that at this point is BLAH. Knowing Jesus is not through some encantational prayer. Today I read Pr. Erickson’s blog about the Trinity and upon hearing that Jesus is God who died, well it left me in awe. God himself came and bore our sin. Therefore, it really is finished. God died and came back to life proving he was God and he was able to blot out the great cosmic mess we made. What more is there to do? That isn’t saying “oh good I can go rob banks and kill small children now.” This is saying that in Christ all those robbers and baby killers can have forgiveness because GOD namely Jesus said it is finished. When that smacks you in the face, you ARE confronted with your sin and daily begin to be transformed in newness of life. It has zero to do with us and that what ticks us off so we have to come up with all of these questionaires to see if we are really being holy enough. I have yet to meet someone who says oh yes now that I believe that the God of the universe came to earth and died for me I now will freely rob banks, kill babies, or do whatever we are warned about 24/7 in church. No mistake that sin is still present in our lives but didn’t Luther say the WHOLE life is about daily repentance? Of course he linked our forgiveness with our baptism. Jesus talked about it way to much and way to literal for it to be some weird outward sign of an inward confession. Also, Mitchell you and I have the exact same background. We should email!

    • Hey Robin!
      Exactly… you see the same issue I have tried to make. Every church service or Sunday School session feels like a ‘grown up Vacation Bible School’ lesson to remind me to love those around me more… respect more… don’t let evil come into your home through the t.v. Really?! Then I begin to look into reformation churches who actually know what the real problem is and what the real solution is; and man do you guys (reformation churches) run with it. Problem is we don’t have any in my hometown. We currently reside in the Southern Baptist Church I grew up in. It is tough to sit there sometimes. One character study after another… “do you pray like Daniel for 21 days straight?” “God can help you slay the Goliaths in your life just like David.” This is my favorite one “Oh you can’t drink anything with alcohol in it” while he’s putting his Copenhagen (snuff) in his lip that he can’t go without for more than 30 min. I’m hoping to effect some change in they way these folks think about Christianity at some point. If not… I’ll go enjoy myself at the golf course. “Enjoy myself at the golf course”… I’m such a sinner like that.

  10. The finished work of Christ is just that, FINISHED! There’s not a thing we can add! It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!

    Blessings!

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