“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”
If you were to describe your relationship with God, how would you describe it? Does it read the same as a relationship with a friend who you’ve fallen out of touch with? Or maybe even someone you have wronged and not yet sought forgiveness? Is it something on the back of your mind like a task that you know you should ‘get to when you have some time’ when you really just want to avoid it because it seems like too much to sort out?
This kind of thinking defined my relationship with God for many years. We all know the ways that we sin; we may be quite good at covering them up (although probably not as good as we think), but WE know the things we’ve done wrong. In our minds, these things create a mental rats-nest that becomes a barrier between us and God that only seems to get bigger over time. And as time goes on, it becomes far too overwhelming to sort out. So we go on with life, separated from God, living in a dull but constant guilt knowing that the barrier was built by OUR sin and one day we’ll have to answer for it.
Here is the amazing truth of the Gospel: You don’t have to sort it out. You can turn to God from wherever you are and walk in freedom and righteousness today. Just imagine not having to carry the burden of your sin. No more hiding parts of yourself or trying to keep up appearances while you are dying inside.
It sounds too good to be true, because social and civil expectations dictate that we pay for our mistakes. But don’t take my word for it, let’s look at what God’s word says about how He handles our sin.
“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God IS love.”
1 John 4:8, emphasis added
“[…Love] keeps no record of wrong..”
1 Corinthians 13:5
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’”
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son. That whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16, emphasis added
“But if we CONFESS our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.”
1 John 1:9, emphasis added
It is so clear that God is willing to forgive our sins. Most of us have heard this before but still, we tend to believe that forgiveness isn’t enough by itself. We still don’t know how to walk in freedom and righteousness. We know we can’t be perfect, even the Bible says we can’t. So once again, we feel stuck in a cycle of sin, guilt and shame.
Here is what God says about what to do next.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the spirit wants. And the spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires…”
Walk in freedom! Don’t spend all of your energy trying to be perfect, just go out into your daily life loving others and following the Holy Spirit’s lead.
And whenever you fail, as we all do, look up. Our instructions are simple. Bring your sin before the Lord, accept His forgiveness and move on.
We don’t have to sort it all out, we don’t have to correct our own ledger, and we don’t have to live in guilt.
Believe Christ is who He says He is.
Confess your sins to Him.
Love those around you and seek the Holy Spirit.
If you are doing these things, don’t let the enemy pull you back down into guilt and shame.
And here is the most important part of all of this:
Take God at His word and TRUST that you are righteous in His sight.
Christ died to make this way for you, don’t waste that gift by doing the process and not trusting Him with the result. You are a child of the most high God and He loves you with everything in Him. Try this now. Don’t put it off for another moment.
Do you believe that Christ is who He says He is?
Now confess your sins to Him, whatever they are. He can handle it. Are you angry with Him? He can handle that too.
This is the path to freedom and righteousness. This is the way that Christ made for us. He says that you are clean (1 Corinthians 6:11), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), righteous before God and free from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:7,18).
So here is the question:
Do you believe Him?