What are We Free to Pursue?
by Abiding Love
Galatians 5:13 — You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
It is almost Independence Day! I plan to celebrate my freedom this year by running three miles across a bridge in scorching heat just because I can. Then I plan to burn some burgers on the grill and finally watch my son take his annual shot at lighting our roof on fire with some fireworks.
Do you like my plans? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, “I am to do what I want.” Right? Americans love this concept of being free to do whatever we want. We stand strong on our inalienable right toward the pursuit of happiness.
But are we really free to do whatever we want and pursue anything that we think would bring ourselves happiness? (Can I drink a bottle of booze and drive 95 mph down my road in the name of freedom and pursuing happiness?)
God’s Word is the best place to understand our real freedom, what we have been freed from, and now what we are free to pursue.
Real freedom is the freedom won by our Savior Jesus Christ. We have all sinned. Sin comes naturally to us. We entered this world spiritually corrupted. It has shown in all our self-serving loveless acts towards others and all the ways we have rebelliously turned against what God says. The consequences of the sum of our natural corruption and all its fruits is judgment, wrath, a curse, death, hell.
If you were destroying yourself and racking up an eternity in prison, would you want someone who loved you to freely leave you to do what you want? Wouldn’t you rather have that person say, “Hey, look what you are doing to yourself!” That’s what God does in His Word when he shows us our sins. He lovingly exposes our sins to lead us to repentance.
But God does not stop there. God sent His Son to pay the sum consequences of our natural corruption and all its fruits. On the cross, Jesus was judged, condemned, cursed, under wrath, suffering hell for us. Jesus paid the price for all sin. Now in Christ God extends to us freedom from the consequences of our sin. We are forgiven. This is the great news of the gospel!
Here’s where this all comes together — Jesus did not free us from the judgment of sin so that we would turn around and pursue sin all over. Jesus did not free us from condemnation and wrath so that we could then stick our nose up at God and say, “I am free to do whatever I want and whatever makes me happy.” That’s not faith. That’s not repentance. And that’s certainly not the attitude of a heart that sits right with God. To be free of our sin is to repent of it so that Jesus can wash it away.
Instead of pursuing “whatever makes us happy”, Jesus freed us so that we could pursue a new life of living under God and for God apart from sin. Jesus freed us from hell so that we could seek first His Kingdom of heaven. Jesus freed us from sin to pursue a life of thankful obedience to our God. That means doing what pleases him, and not necessarily always what our sinful hearts desire.
The thing is when you love someone it makes you happy to make them happy. We are willing to sacrifice for the one we love, because it brings us to joy to love them. So in a way we Christians are free to pursue happiness. Its just not the happiness of serving our sinful desires. Instead it is the joyful happiness of living to bring honor to the one who saved us.
Peace in Jesus,
Pastor John Gensmer
December 11, 2019
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