God’s Liberating Power—Life Application for February 19, 2017

February 12, 2017 No Comments »
God’s Liberating Power—Life Application for February 19, 2017

By David Faust

Don’t you like it when you get something for free, like a sample at the grocery store or a ticket to a ballgame? The problem is, there’s often a catch. That “free” vacation actually costs $2,000. The “free” sandwich at the fast food restaurant will cost five bucks once you pay for fries and a drink.

There are no hidden snags in God’s grace, but it’s important to understand what spiritual freedom means and what it doesn’t mean.

Obligated

We aren’t free to distort the gospel. The apostle Paul said, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6, 7). Maple syrup smells better than gasoline, but don’t pour it into your car. Sweet-sounding alternatives abound, but the gospel of Christ remains the only way to Heaven. We’re obligated to be faithful.

We aren’t free to pursue our selfish desires. “Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh” (5:13). Jesus didn’t set us free so we can dishonor him by indulging in sin. We’re obligated to be obedient.

We aren’t free to create our own truth. We decide whether we will do right or wrong, but ultimately God decides what is right or wrong. We enjoy the freedom of riding on a roller coaster only as long as it stays on track. If it breaks free from the rails, people get hurt. Likewise, God’s Word keeps us on track so we can bear good fruit instead of destructive “acts of the flesh” (5:19-23). We’re obligated to live by the Spirit.

So what does it mean to live free in Christ?

Liberated

We’re free from trying to be good enough. We “put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law” (2:16). We cannot keep God’s law thoroughly enough, go to church often enough, give away enough money, or pray enough prayers to deserve God’s favor. His grace is free—and freeing.

We’re free from trying to please everyone. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?” (1:10). Why be slaves to others’ expectations? Christians live for an audience of one—Jesus Christ.

We’re free from condemnation. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (3:13).

We’re free to serve. Sin keeps us preoccupied with self; grace releases us to fulfill our ministry potential. “Do not use your freedom to indulge your flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (5:13).

I visited a church in upstate New York where a man with a humble attitude led a meaningful communion meditation prior to the Lord’s Supper. Later the preacher told me about a member of the church who had been unusually resistant to the gospel before he finally accepted Christ. In the fellow’s pre-Christian days, whenever the preacher tried to talk with him about the Lord, the man would become so upset that one time he angrily knocked the Bible out of the preacher’s hand. I asked, “Which guy was that?”

The preacher answered, “The one who gave the communion meditation today.”

God’s liberating power still changes lives.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

As you apply today’s Scripture study to everyday life, read Engage Your Faith by David Faust and the correlating Evaluation Questions.

Daily Readings

Feb. 6

M.

Galatians 4:1-7

Becoming an Heir in God’s Family

Feb. 7

T.

1 Kings 2:1-4

A Faithful Heir Will Succeed

Feb. 8

W.

2 Corinthians 12:7b-10

Power and Strength through Weakness

Feb. 9

T.

Luke 9:23-27, 57-62

The Cost of Being a Disciple

Feb. 10

F.

Romans 8:1-11

The Spirit Brings Life

Feb. 11

S.

Romans 8:12-17

Led by the Spirit of Christ

Feb. 12

S.

Galatians 4:8-20

Choose Freedom in Christ

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