“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
This month I celebrated 39 years of freedom through Christ. On November 6, 1976 I accepted God’s free grace through Jesus and became free from the bondage of this world. I accepted his Words as true and became a citizen of Heaven. I also accepted his new covenant to love my neighbor as myself. But in some ways I didn’t understand that new freedom. I was still thinking that I had to be “good” in order to be saved; I wasn’t looking at it as I was made “good”, because I was saved.
I call it the “Battle of Religions”. You know, those denominational mandates that tell you how to be a Christian: don’t do this, don’t wear that, don’t go there. This doesn’t add up to salvation for me, this in an unfounded equation:
Law + You = Salvation
That is not what God said. Paul stated it like this,
“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
If I am truly saved and have Jesus in my heart, I will not need the Law to remind me of what is right. I have the Holy Spirit inside of me to convict me of my sins. Oh, yes, I do sin. Every day. And I confess those sins and ask Jesus to forgive me of them and the hidden sins that I may not even be aware of, on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.
We will live a sinful life as long as we live on this earth, but as a child of God, I know when I do something against the desires of God. And that is where the infallible equation of grace comes in:
Jesus (-Law) + You = Salvation
Abraham had two sons, remember the story? How Sarah wanted an heir for Abraham so she gave her handmaid Hagar to him to sire a son? That is the example of us trying to fulfill God’s Law. It was intervention into the lives of God’s people to try to manipulate God’s promise to make a great nation through Abraham; to not only give him an heir, but to give him more children then the number of starts in the sky. (Genesis 15)
We have to believe ALL of the promises of God; not just a few. And we need to check ourselves in how we are wanting to live our lives. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, my sinful desires left. I no longer wanted to spend my evenings with a bottle of Vodka and an Eagles album. The way I dressed, the books I read, and the movies I went to all became sickening to me. Why? Not because the church told me it was wrong, but because as I got into God’s Word, He told me it was wrong and the Holy Spirit convicted me as I lived each day as a new Christian.
Are religions wrong in their beliefs? Not if their primary belief is in the blood of Jesus Christ shed for you for perfect salvation. Only when we try to follow rules without realizing that we are not working out our salvation that it becomes wrong. When man puts himself in as our guardian, then it becomes wrong. The Holy Spirit is our living Guide for life as a Christian and Jesus already paid the price.
And that equation adds up.