#162 - "All Hail The Power of Jesus Name"
#250 - "The Great Redeemer"
by David Chadwell
#781 - "Thank You, Lord!"
#718 - "We Shall Assemble"
by Chris Benjamin
|The cost of the rope |
The cost of the M88 Hercules tank
The benefits of Freedom in Iraq
The toppling of Husseins statue in Baghdad represented freedom from decades of tyranny for Iraq. Even thought conflicts remain, all must agree that Iraq has been freed from oppression and now they have hope and a chance for a new kind of life. That is remarkably true in the case of Jawad Amir ...
20 years ago, Jawad Amir supported a religious leader who opposed Saddam Hussein. Hussein responded by placing an execution order on Amir. Amir went into hiding not in another country, but in a space in the wall of his parents house. Amir lived in this space for 20 years listening to the news on his radio. When he heard that Husseins statue was toppled he finally emerged from hiding.
After 20 years hiding for his life, Amir has a new life because of the freedom achieved by others. What he will do now that he has his freedom? Just having freedom isnt the end of the story, after all. Amirs story is symbolic of the nation of Iraq now that they have freedom from the tyrant, how shall they use that freedom? There is real concern that a leadership or government could form even more oppressive than Saddam Hussein. Before he was pulled out of his own hidey-hole, there were those who expressed a desire to return to the rule of Hussein ...
Second chances are delicate and profound moments. Why? Because something has been paid to redeem a people from destruction. To waste freedom and redemption is incredibly disappointing and anguishing.
Ransomed by Christ Galatians 5:1 - "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
The death of Jesus on the cross is not a payoff to an angry God, nor is it simply payment for a hefty fine. The appearance of the Son of God threatened the powers of darkness and evil.
Christs suffering and death was not meaningless nor an accident; it was necessary and inevitable given the conflict that exists in our world between good and evil, between the powers that would enslave us and the God who created us to live free.
But the resurrection changes everything death is not victorious in this conflict. Christ is exalted over all the living and the dead. Sins statue has been toppled. There is a regime change in the world that brings about new freedom because there is now a new, redeemed, free humanity in Christ.
Two Abuses of Christian Freedom
We have been set free! But what do we do with our freedom? There are two extremes, two abuses of freedom in Christ: Well call these extremes "lawlessness and legalism." And since both of these extremes ignore the relationship between grace and works, freedom and responsibility, or spirituality and behavior we can characterize them as follows:
Lawlessness: Trying to be spiritual without worrying about our behavior.
We are free but that doesnt deny that there is a call to purity. Purity and holiness are benefits of freedom. If we lose these we abandon our freedom. How can we strive for the joy of Christ if we are chasing after things that fill our lives with more pain? We cannot serve two masters.
Legalism: worrying about our behavior without trying to be spiritual.
The message of grace and freedom is threatening to some. And they, like the Iraqis who would rather have the security of law rather than the responsibility of freedom, will put their faith in a religious system, tradition or church institution.
Talking about freedom can be challenging and some get alarmed that there will be abuses. But when we focus on behavior and neglect the spiritual there are other abuses that are just as bad: We may keep all the rules and avoid any sort of conflict or slippery slope, but inwardly we have not changed and we justify rudeness, unkindness, and discord in the name of defending the faith.
Jesus taught us that good behavior is not just about what we do it also involves who we are.
Trying to be Spiritual without Worrying about Behavior
Freedoms Cost and Freedoms Response Ability [The Ransom Demand]
Freedom comes at the cost of spilled blood. To have political freedom is an important and priceless reality, but to have spiritual freedom, release from the tyranny of sin, is greater still. For, one can be a free American citizen but remain an enslaved sinner. Only when one lives as a freeborn child of God is one truly free indeed.
Youve been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ How then shall you live? The invitation is to come to Christ. The invitation is to live out your freedom and share its benefits.
#626 - "Christ For the World We Sing" (The song focuses on Christ, but sends us out into the world to serve others in his name!)
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