Made Alive

Romans 6: 6 – 7

Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

This is a wonderful bit of good news this morning. You have been freed from sin that once hampered you and, furthermore, your old self has died having been crucified on the cross with Jesus himself. If there is some habit, sin or condition that has plagued you for years, understand that you are dead to it as soon as you acknowledge that the old man who, was you, died on that cross. You were raised up as a new creature in Christ Jesus at Jesus’ resurrection. You are a full partaker of the resurrection.

If you died, then sin can no longer hold you. It was in the old man and the old man is dead. The new creature who was raised in Christ is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Ok, does that mean that you never, ever sin or fall short of the mark? Not necessarily, but it does mean that you are no longer a slave to sin. Sin no longer owns you. You have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus so that you are in the Kingdom of righteousness instead of the camp of the enemy. You are free from the bondage of sin, and it no longer has a hold on you. You just have to make sure that you no longer have a hold on it. Jesus has set you free, but you need to stand up and walk out of the prisoner of war camp. Don’t hang out there anymore. Your freedom has been purchased.

You have died to sin and are free of the torment that it brings. No matter what hold sin had on you, you are now dead to it. Don’t go to the grave and resurrect that which Jesus has freed you from. No matter what habit held you, know that Jesus took that to the cross with him so that you could participate in his resurrection as your new self; clean and washed in the blood of the lamb. Celebrate your new self today. You are a glorious new creature in Christ Jesus.


Galatians 5: 1

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

As we celebrate our day of Independence, perhaps we can also say a “Thank You” to Jesus for the liberty he bought us. In fact, it is this very idea of liberty which Jesus provided that is at the heart of the Independence Day story.

The founders believed that God made us to enjoy freedom and that no government had to right to take away from us that which Jesus won for us. Paul recognized, though, that freedom is a fragile thing. It is not sealed in concrete. That is why Paul counseled that we must continue to stand firm. However, it wasn’t governmental entities that Paul was concerned about. In fact, Jesus’ disciples thought he came to bring political freedom. There is a much more devastating bondage, and it is from this slavery that Jesus set us free. It is about this kind of slavery that Paul warned us. It is spiritual slavery.

On this Independence Day, take some time to talk with the Heavenly Father. Ask Him, “What is it that binds me? Is there anything which keeps me from living in the fullness of liberty that you had in mind for me?” People understand bondage to a chemical dependency like drugs or alcohol, but there are more insidious chains which, though sometimes almost invisible, have the power to undermine our lives, our happiness and even our destinies. Let Jesus be your liberator this Independence Day!

High Way

Romans 8: 2

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The first phrase of the above sentence is just glorious good news. You have been set free. The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of life, has set you free from all bondage by the power of love and life in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! Whatever has bound you in the past no longer has power over you.

Taking the whole sentence together gives us another perspective. In Jesus we were set free from the law of sin and death. Do you see there are two paths here? The Holy Spirit, through Jesus, has set us free so that we can walk in the law of the Spirit of life rather than walking in the law of sin and death. So, there is a path of life and a path of sin and death. Formerly we were trapped on the path of sin and death. We had no choice, no escape. But then Jesus came and broke all the chains that bound us so that we could be free indeed.

Here is the point that we need to understand though. When Jesus broke all those chains that held us captive, we were no longer bound to the path of sin and death. We, however, no longer being slaves but rather free people in Christ have a choice. While Jesus paid the price of your ransom and set you free, He did not make your choice for you. That would only be another form of slavery. The scripture says that whomever the Son shall set free shall be free indeed (John 8: 36). In other words, Jesus did not trade your bondage for another form of slavery when He ransomed you. He didn’t buy you as a slave that is bartered and traded. He ransomed you out of the hands of the oppressor so that you can live as a truly free person with all the rights and responsibilities that inure thereto. Therein lies the rub. Where there is freedom and rights, there is responsibility.

Jesus didn’t redeem you so that you can run around in the darkness, a slave to the law of sin and death. Rather He shed His blood so that you would have the right to choose. He is not going to pick you up and put you on the path of life. He is not going to chain you to the correct road so that you don’t go wandering off like a lost sheep and fall back into the pit. He has purchased your complete freedom and is not going to take it away from you even if you make an absolute mess of your freedom.

You must choose. Are you going to walk on the path that is paved with the law of liberty in Christ Jesus, the path that love bought? Are you going to live the way of the path of life? Or are you going to keep dancing along the path of good intentions fallen short, the path of compromised ethics? Are you absently mindedly or even intentionally going to stay on the low path that leads ultimately to death and destruction? Look, you don’t walk the High Way without purpose and intent. You must make conscious decisions every day to come up higher. The road leading to life and liberty is one of choice and deep commitment. Your right to walk on it was guaranteed by Jesus but you must still choose to come up to the higher life. Little compromises along the way are going to create potholes in your road. Do not let inattention to the details of life damage your path. And do not forsake your values for convenience or benefit. Choose to walk on higher ground. It is the best and safest path.

Happy Birthday

Galatians 5: 1

 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

I hope you have been savoring the sweet taste of freedom this weekend.  I imagine many of you have today off to celebrate our political freedom.  As you do, say a thank you to Jesus for your personal freedom as well.  You know, the two are interconnected.  Political freedom is not worth much without personal freedom.  The price has been paid by countless citizens for our religious, political and personal freedom but it was Jesus who created the platform by which others have been able to stand for the liberties we now enjoy.

I am so very grateful for those who paid the price and for all who continue to pray for our country and our leaders today.  Freedom still has a high cost but praise our Lord who gave us freedom so that we could pursue liberty.  Thank you Lord.  And Happy Birthday America!


Psalm 129: 4

The Lord is righteous. He has cut me loose from the ropes that wicked people tied around me.

It is my guess that everyone has felt hindered or bound at some point in their lives. Most people experience times when it seems they are being held back and we ask, “What is preventing me from reaching my goals?” The good news is that the answer becomes irrelevant in Christ Jesus.

Here is an Old Testament principle, God has cut the ropes which bound us. Jesus is the new revelation and a sharp sword. I am imagining a movie scene of a person being held prisoner bound with ropes. There is no rope which has ever been fabricated strong enough to withstand the sharp edge of the Word. He has released you.

No matter what has ever hampered you, whether that be a poor upbringing, a lacking self-image, evil people, whatever has stunted your growth and progress, those obstacles are vanquished in the resurrection of Jesus. Doesn’t that thrill your heart? Maybe you did not have all the advantages of others, but you can finish your race proudly. God’s righteousness has severed all the restricting bonds. He has given you freedom. Glory to His most holy name!

Blessing is yours, and liberty, as you meditate on this verse from today’s psalm. See the ropes falling away as you fly on the wings of angels. Be blessed!

Freed to Serve

Galatians 5:13

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

A friend of mine posted something on Facebook about selflessly caring for others. I was reminded of this verse and found myself wondering if that is a key to self preservation. It set me to thinking. The people I know who are trying to find ways to bless and support others seem to be faring well though this challenging time. Is there something God wanted to do for us that comes through our putting others first? Wouldn’t that be just like Him?

Paul wouldn’t have us spending our hard won freedom on feeding our fleshly desires. He wouldn’t want us to spend our fortunes on ourselves but in all things, to turn our thoughts, and hearts, to how we may serve others. You know, that is a challenge and typically not the way society works but it is how the Kingdom works.

Here is one thing you can do today. Do you know someone who lives alone? Send them an email, or make a phone call just to ask how they are doing. Whom have you not had contact with in a while? Maybe we can all reach out to one person but through us a lot of folks get some real social contact.

You tell me – what does this verse mean to you? What can we do individually or collectively to “serve one another.” I would really like to hear your ideas. There is no reason for any of us to be going stir crazy. We can find something meaningful to do. I know you have good ideas.

The Kingdom of God has fuel it runs on. It has principles which, when employed, produce reactions. We know from other verses that God multiplies seed, the Kingdom principle being operates through sowing of seed. We may be seeing in today’s verse another tangent of that rule. We are served in our service of others. The more we meet the needs of others, the more the Kindgom multiplies in our own lives. We meet God in the service of His children, but that is no surprise. Throughout Biblical history God’s presence abided with those who were serving His heirs. His glory is awaiting us too and it is within reach. This great calamity is providing us the opportunity to get out of our own skin and into a greater calling with the Father. We may have felt insignificant in January but now we have more power to affect more people for good than any time in our lifetimes. What can we do to leave a legacy of God’s love? What is God presenting to any of us today that will allow us to help someone else? I would love to hear?

Loose Him

John 11: 43 – 44

When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

The story of Lazarus is a good metaphor for the Christian experience. Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, from death, yet Lazarus was still bound hand and foot.

A few sentences earlier Jesus told Martha, “I am . . . the life,” (v. 25). In Jesus is the very essence of the life force that runs this planet, so he was well able to restore Lazarus to life. It is the same way with us. We were dead in our sins. We had the appearance of being alive but truthfully, we were dead bones walking around waiting for redemption. Jesus came. He called out to us as he did to Lazarus and Eureka! We were born again; born from death to life. His life was given to us.

When Lazarus came out of the tomb, he was bound hand and foot and had a veil over his face. That is the very picture of us. We were given new life; restored and redeemed, but still bound hand and foot and blind from the veil covering our eyes.

It takes another act of grace to loose us from that which binds us. There are needful steps to remove the veil so that we might see. Being restored to life is not the end of the story, as we can see from today’s passage. Jesus said, “Unbind him, and let him go.” This is the message he speaks to all the pastors of the world today. After being born again begins the work of removing all those things which bind people. If the veil is not removed then we still see the world around us as the world does instead of as Jesus sees it.

It’s great when people get saved and born again but if they (we) do not take the important next step then they are not free. Jesus wants us out from under every bondage. He wants the veil removed from our face so that we might see. As Christians, this is our task for our lives in Christ. He did not restore us to life so that we remain blind slaves to our old bondage. It was for freedom that Jesus set us free (Galatians 5: 1). Therefore, let us no longer be bound by all the things which entangle those without Jesus’ victory flowing through their bodies. Be free of the blindfold and the ties. They only serve to hold you back.