Continuing on with out guest posts this week, we introduce you to our friend Sjoerd from the Netherlands!
Hey! My name is Sjoerd. I've known the Snyder family since September 2010, when I came to Ravencrest to study Bible for a year.
Lately I've thought about the great freedom I have in Christ, and therefore I want to write down some of the things I've learned from God. Like with my own blog, I write to arrange my thoughts, while hopefully encouraging others with them. In that, my goal is always to tell about our God, and never just what I do or think.
Let's start with reading from John 8, where Jesus says that He has come to make us free people instead of slaves of sin.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:31-36]
In Luke 4, Jesus also says that the following prophecy, foretold by Isaiah, is true about Him.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners. [Isaiah 61:1]
That is again about freedom from slavery and imprisonment to sin. This is the start of freedom, knowing that in Christ you are free from condemnation, that the full price for your freedom has been paid by Him!
From there, as you understand that you can do nothing apart from Christ, you will find that this freedom is also freedom from the power of sin, because Christ lives in you.
Man, what a gift! And that's not even all of it. The freedom I've been experiencing more and more is the freedom we have to actually do whatever we want. Paul writes about this in his letter to the Galatians, in the fifth chapter, right before he writes about the well-known fruit of the Spirit.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery... 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. [Galatians 5:1, 13]
The Galatians had freedom, but later they were enslaved again by the law. People told them that they had to do this and that in order to be a good Christian, or in order to be loved by God, or whatever.. The problem with laws is that we cannot keep them, and there you have the reason that Christ freed us from them. No, we don't have to do anything to earn God's love for us, He loves us. And in Christ we are free from the law and free to do whatever we want. Paul says: “Now don't use your freedom to fulfill your own plans and desires and to do everything in your own strength, because you'll find out soon enough that that is the way straight back to the captivity you are freed from. Instead walk by the Spirit and rely on Him to grow in you His fruit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Right?, that is not a restriction, that is the most loving counsel God could give you along with this freedom.
I find more and more how great the treasure of this freedom is. I'm free to study hard, but also to relax for a weekend. I'm free to write a blog to share with you how awesome our God is, but I'm also free not to do it. And I could come up with many more examples. It is when people tell me that I 'must' do something, that I actually don't feel like doing it, because that's not freedom.
I believe that I am free to make my plans and dreams known to God, and that He will bless me as I take steps toward them. Of course He can have a much greater plan for me, something I much rather want. Then He will redirect my path. But that's great, because in my freedom I want God to guide me in His way. That is what Peter calls us to do, to use our freedom as servants of God! Not because we are His slaves or because He forces us to. No, He freed us from slavery and gave us the choice to become His bondslaves, servants by choice.
“Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.” [1 Peter 2:16]
Below I've added a picture to show what this freedom feels like for me. Please feel free to comment or visit my blog, which is: http://sjoerdvonk.blogspot.com