Links Daily Devotional

Jesus, Our Freedom

…and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts. (Psalm 119:45, ESV)

Freedom is an idyllic idea. No one likes to be bound up by restraints and constraints, especially on the golf course. We want to be free to play as we wish, to imagine and play a shot according to the picture painted in our mind’s eye. Yet, most often, weather conditions, aging bodies, poor judgment, flawed execution, and fear all team up to restrict our artistic and athletic expression.

It is difficult to imagine a world where the chains of fear and shame are broken. All societal systems, governments, and world religions have a certain degree of fear motivation to keep their people in line. They are founded on the principle of “do this and live.” Christianity alone offers true freedom by the power of grace, as Jesus has done it (propitiation, expiation, redemption, and reconciliation) so that we can live.

Thomas Chalmers, in The Expulsive Power of a New Affection, wrote: “On the tenure of ‘Do this and live,’ a spirit of fearfulness is sure to enter; …and the creature striving to be square and even with his Creator, is, in fact, pursuing all the while his own selfishness, instead of God’s glory; and with all the conformities which he labors to accomplish, the soul of obedience is not there, the mind is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed such an economy ever can be.”

It may seem counterintuitive to speak of freedom when it comes to the pursuit of godliness, as the Psalmist did in today’s verse, but Chalmers continues: “The freer the gospel, the more sanctifying is the gospel.” Why might this be so? Because a freed person naturally loves her Savior and worships him. That is where obedience is found (Matthew 22:37).

Freedom according to the Word of God runs contrary to the popular opinion that says vice makes things more interesting. The new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21-22) is the most interesting place we will ever be, and we will be unable to sin there! Unfortunately, now we naturally see God’s rule as the prime enemy to our freedom. Even dogs without an able pack leader fearfully look about on their walks, overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility too heavy to bear. How are we then to walk this perilous life on our own? Freedom is surprisingly found in the sovereign kingship of God; thankfully, there is peace in God’s fortress.

Yet, we continue to bite and bark at our Creator, and we dig our own trench; we doubt there is real shelter in Christ. That is why we often seek comfort and security from other would-be authorities, easily wandering from the only living God. And it shows, as J. I. Packer writes: “We are unlike the Christians of New Testament times. Our approach to life is conventional and static; theirs was not. The thought of ‘safety first’ was not a drag on their enterprise as it is on ours. By being exuberant, unconventional and uninhibited in living by the Gospel they turned their world upside down, but you could not accuse us [21st Century] Christians of doing anything like that.” Safety in Christ paradoxically leads to freedom from playing it safe.

The Gospel is the river of life that says “you are accepted,” only for the sake of Jesus’ righteousness ascribed to you. Jesus played the narrow fairway and drove the ball through the impossible eye of a needle so that we might live and walk in a wide place. It is for freedom that Christ, the King, has set us free (Galatians 5:1).

Isabelle Beisiegel
July 23, 2015
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