I was really touched by Jeremy’s Sunday sermon on “Spiritual Freedom” but realised this concept has quite profound consequences on how we have to behave. We have been privileged to have been given “freedom of choice” but sadly historically we have got ourselves into bad trouble with this freedom and there seems to be a “fine line” between relative and absolute truth:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Somewhere along the line I guess we have to CHOOSE to use our “freedom” appropriately but where are the guidelines? Jeremy pointed us to the Book of Romans for the answers regarding “spiritual freedom” where the Disciple Paul inspired through God reminds us vividly on this topic:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes”.
Certainly there is no ambiguity of the consequences of not following the guidelines, as on the opposite side of the coin is God’s wrath against sinful humanity. This pretty much ties in with my previous Blogs regarding the current health woes of mankind (see Health Matters 1-3).
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed-a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”People, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
The rewards of obedience to God are clear but as Jeremy indicated on Sunday, do we spend enough time and effort with those non-believers that they face real dangers……?
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil.
In Romans 6:23 almost cerainly Paul is referring to “spiritual death” when he refers to:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Life Through the Spirit
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 15:13 summarises beautifully:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Philip Yancey writes in his wonderful book “What’s So amazing about Grace”…
” the proof of spiritual maturity is not how pure you are but awareness of your impurity”. “That very awareness opens the door to grace.”