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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Free at Last

Today I'm reading Romans 6:15-21.

15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
19 I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
20-21 As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.

I've been reading books by Neil T. Anderson lately, in preparation for  a new sermon series after the first of the year. He writes a lot about  how people actually find freedom in Christ...freedom from addictive behaviors and addictive attitudes and thoughts. A few quotations from him for today:

The inner change, justification, is effected at the moment of salvation. The outer change in the believer's daily walk, sanctification, continues throughout life. But the progressive work of sanctification is only fully effective when the radical, inner transformation of justification is realized and appropriated by faith.

A Christian is not simply a person who is forgiven and goes to heaven. A Christian, in terms of his or her deepest identity, is a saint, a spiritually born child of God, a divine masterpiece, a child of light, a citizen of heaven.

We don't serve God to gain His acceptance; we are accepted so we serve God. We don't follow Him in order to be loved; we are loved so we follow Him. 

Aloneness can lead to loneliness. God's preventative for loneliness is intimacy - meaningful, open, sharing relationships with one another. In Christ we have the capacity for the fulfilling sense of belonging which comes from intimate fellowship with God and with other believers.


Recommended books by Anderson:
"Victory Over Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ"
"Steps to Freedom in Christ"
"The Bondage Breaker: Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Irrational Feelings, Habitual Sins"

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