Jesus Came to Set You Free
The Gospel is not just a “get out of jail free” card. It is an entirely new identity. It is life live in freedom and joy. Are you there yet? What is bogging you down? Is the weight of your past pulling you under? Jesus did not die for you to remain in bondage.
Your sins do not define you as a Christian. You are no longer the adulterer, the addict, the clown, or the thief. You may have been all these things once. Your list of offenses might be a mile long. They are all under the blood of Jesus. You also may have a extensive list from after salvation. You may have fallen away for a time or just struggled. These are also washed away through Jesus. He is just that good! None of these transgressions are your identity in God. They are not who you are.
You are a new creation. You are justified. You are righteous. You are not a failure. You don’t disappoint God. You are beloved. You are not condemned. You are free.
God loves you. He knows everything you did before Jesus. He also knows all you will do, good and bad, as a Christian. He still chose to love you. God is just that good by nature. Your choices do not change God’s character. Jesus died on the Cross to change who you are eternally.
You are not just the same old person now with a little Jesus added. You are not someone who has “gotten religion” or taken up a new hobby. You are a work of God Himself raised up to walk in newness of life.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
That old person passed away. A new one was born. This birth is unnatural. It is not of blood nor the flesh. You were made by the will of God. Isn’t that amazing to think about? It is vitally important you understand exactly what this means!
Crucified with Christ
Do you know you died with Christ? Paul writes clearly you were crucified with Jesus. This is a life changing truth if you are willing to accept it fully.
How does it work?
You started off as God’s enemy. You were not a good person. You were not close to God or doing good things. The Bible says you rebelled against God. You were ruled by your flesh while doing so. It makes sense, therefore, that you did sinful things during this time. A persons natural state is to grasp after sin. You are not that person anymore. This was not because you cleaned yourself up and got better. It is only due to mercy from God. He called you. He chose you…despite you.
God loved the world so much that His Son, Jesus willingly died for you. This was not because God needed you. It is not due to God being lonely or having a void in His life. God does not need a single thing to make Him more perfect. God simply chose to express love and give you a free gift, salvation, again despite you.
God opened the door to heaven when Jesus’ Body was offered on the Cross. Through His will alone are you forgiven, loved, and saved. This is not a temporary state. It is not conditioned on you now being a good boy or girl. Rather, it is a permanent declaration of your status before the Lord. You are innocent! You are justified! The word “justified” in the Bible means you were judicially found to be righteous. You will never be put on trial again. The Eternal Judge set you free!
But What about all the Sins?
It seems unfair to let us sinners off the hood, doesn’t it? People not paying for their actions violates your sense of fair play. The thief and murderer can be innocent before God? What about justice? How is that right? It is just not fair!
You are exactly right. It is not fair. God is not playing square with you. True justice as man applies it demands you be punished for eternity. If God was fair to you, He would count every one of your countless sins against His perfect holiness. He would hold you to account. This would be absolutely equitable and right. You know the rules and you broke them thousands of times.
Can you imagine standing before God as He laid out every thought, every word, and every deed?
God did not want that to happen. He is the spotless judge but He also loves mankind. He had mercy on you and presented a way to be both fair and loving. He poured out all that judgment you and I deserve on Jesus on the Cross. Christ stepped in for you. Christ took the payment for your sins. He made sure justice was served by being willing to accept the unfair. The Spotless Lamb of God died for God’s enemies. This is incredibly unfair. It is terribly unjust. Innocent offered for the guilty makes no sense…unless God loves you perfectly.
Jesus made sure you understood His mission by stating on the Cross simply: It is finished. Your debt to God is paid up in full through Jesus’ death. The Bible goes further and sets out how you join in Christ’s death. The person you were before died on the Cross with Jesus through Him. You are a new woman or man made by God Himself through the blood of Jesus. God now calls you His child.
Dead to Self Justification
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2
Do you see what Paul says about the past and the future in these verses? It is mind blowing! It can set you free, if you let it!
You have been crucified with Christ. Crucifixion is a death sentence. The person you were before died through being nailed to the Cross with Jesus. Your sins from before passed away with that person. No one puts a dead man on trial.
The crucifixion is a past event, obviously. Yet, Paul sets out that this is the very foundation of the Christian faith. He writes the Son of God loved him and gave Himself for him….past tense. It took place years before on Calvary. Since it had already happened it cannot be undone barring use of a time machine. Paul’s standing and yours, therefore, can never be changed. It was set in stone as the nails were pounded through Jesus’ body. Your justification is enormously important because it cost Jesus’ life to earn. Do you think you can do anything to stop Jesus’ crucifixion? Yes, your sins are not good but can they make the dead man rise? Can they undo the Crucifixion of Jesus?
This event you cannot undo is also the source of the life you now live in the body. It is not your own work. It is finished! It is the work Jesus already completed. Paul sets this out emphatically.
If you live to try to earn your righteousness then Christ died for nothing. This means you do not add or take away from your innocence before God. Your sins, though they may be many, cannot undo the certain historical event that earned you God’s love. The beloved son or daughter of God will never be cast aside because their status is based on God…not them.
If you live to prove to God you are good then you are saying the Cross was insufficient. Jesus died to declare you justified.
Free to Rejoice in Christ
True freedom in all of the good things of God comes when you understand this simple principle. The old you is dead. You died with Christ. Your sin debt was paid as a result. You are redeemed. You are judged innocent by God forever.
This does not mean you don’t sin or you should not repent. All relationships take work and humility. It does mean your identity as a beloved child of God doesn’t change based on you. God claimed you as His. God made you new as His. God died for you by choice. God loves you because of Him. Your protests to the contrary argue with the certainty of Jesus on the Cross.
You are free. If you don’t trust you are and believe you must prove yourself to God, then Christ died in vain.
If anyone is telling you that you are still the same person you were before Jesus they are liars. They are trying to take away from the glory of Jesus’ Cross.
If anyone is telling you that you must do this sign of piety, give this amount, or wear these clothes to earn God’s approval, they are leading you astray. They are stealing the focus from the glory of Jesus’ work for you to put it on your work for yourself. They are also likely trying to make you work for them.
You are a new creation through a miracle of God. No man can reverse God’s mighty work. This includes you.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection