Liberated in Christ

[To the Galatians] …How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? (Galatians 3:2,3 The Message).

The Message: Galatians 3
In Your Bible: Galatians 3

Henrietta Mears, a Bible commentator, calls the letter to the Galatians, “The Christians’ Declaration of Independence.” Liberty is freedom from the Law. Believers have liberty in Christ.

The Galatian believers had been drawn back to Judaic Law instead of salvation through Christ. Paul admonished them. The Law was merely a tutor leading the believer to Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ alone is the start of what God wants.

Faith in Christ Verses the Law

Paul reasoned:

The purpose of the law was to keep a sinful people in the way of salvation until Christ (the descendant) came, inheriting the promises and distributing them to us. Obviously this law was not a first hand encounter with God…But the original promise is the direct blessing of God, received by faith (Galatians 3:19,20 The Message).

Relationship and a Promise

Paul then encouraged these new believers as they had just started a new life.

But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe–Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise (Galatians 3:25-27 The Message).

Paul sums it up–all believers are liberated in Christ Jesus. Alleluia.

Prayer: Father, thank you for this challenging message to the Galatians. Your Word is alive and active today. Help me apply it to my own life.

Question: Do you grasp the enormity of the freedom believers now have? In this context of freedom, how does liberty affirm the Spirit’s function to guide and help set you free from legalism?

* Henrietts Mears, What the Bible is All About, Regal Books, Glendale, California, 1974, p 480.

God Links with Our Spirit

The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along (1 Corinthians 2:10 The Message).

The Message: Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
In Your Bible: Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:1-16

In Paul’s letters to the first century churches, his purpose was to “keep it simple,” even though today we may not read them that way. Paul adamantly wanted believers to learn and grow in Christ.

A New Creation With a Purpose

When the believer receives Christ, he is a new creation of God! He has the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Holy Spirit living in him. (See Romans 8:9-11) This is powerful!

When we are alive in Christ, we gain God’s wisdom! These three Spirits communicate with the believers’ spirit to know God better and learn of Him.

“No one has ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never as much imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love Him.”
(Isaiah 64:4 The Message)

The Spirit is the Key

But you’ve seen and heard it because God by His Spirit has brought it all out into the open for you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along (1 Corinthians 2:9,10 The Message).

God in communion with the believer’s spirit propels believers into what He intends. Note how the two versions below answer Isaiah’s question, stated above:

  1. “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we [believers] have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV)
  2. The Message says it this way to Isaiah’s question: Christ knows and we have Christ’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:16 The Message).

There you have it: believers in Christ can seek and know what God has in mind via the Spirit.

Prayer: Father, help me comprehend this great mystery. Through the Spirit You connect us. That’s what You want. Continue to teach me how to follow your thoughts and plans.

Question: Do you too wonder at our gracious God seeking to communicate directly with us? How does this fit with your understanding of God’s interest in you?

Jesus Sticks Up For Believers

…absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us (Romans 8:39 The Message).

The Message: Romans 8:29-39
In Your Bible: Romans 8:29-39

Though this lengthy passage, notice how The Message presents a fresh view of a familiar Scripture familiar. Paul encourages believers:

  • Jesus sticks up for believers before God.
  • Nothing can separate believers from God’s love.

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

“They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. 
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.”

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us (Romans 8:24-39 The Message).

Jesus Is Our Advocate

God acquitted us by Jesus’ blood on the cross. The one who has the right to condemn is far from condemning. Why? Because Jesus sits at God’s right hand, interceding for us. Present before God, he is our Advocate – not our Judge.*

Believers Cannot Be Separated from God’s Love

Paul stresses the expanse of God’s never-ending love. In the list of terrible things that most people think would eliminate us from being loved by the Father, Paul is saying NOTHING CAN DO THAT for those who are in Christ Jesus!

Prayer: Father, what a wonder we have in the saving grace of Jesus at your side standing up for us. Your love embraces us. Alleluia!

* Commentary from William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, The Letter To The Romans, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1957, pp 124,125.

Jesus Did It All

The Message: Romans 6:6-11
In Your Bible: Romans 6:6-11

Paul’s epistle to the Romans was forthright in what the Lord Jesus Christ did for you and me. In these next blogs we’ll ponder specific verses and how critical they are to Life in Christ.

God Speaks Your Mother Tongue

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did (Romans 6:6-11 The Message).

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Jesus to save me and all who believe in you. Help me grasp the depth and power of this life-giving gift. I want to grow in Christ.