We have been Set Free! We are not called to walk a tightrope of holiness, where one misstep could result in an eternal disaster.
Set free from what?
In the religious practice of a Christian life, the following verses are ignored, misquoted, and are not believed.
John 8:31–36  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (ESV)
Note that he states that “the truth will set you free”, then “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. Remember that Jesus Christ, the son of God is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Here in John 8, “the truth will set you free” and “the son sets you free” are both equivalent statements.
From his statements in verses 34 and 35, it is understood that he is referring to being set free from sin. He does set us free and we are free indeed! So many ignore this and think that Jesus Christ lied, that we aren’t REALLY free. Jesus Christ and Religion (theology, practice) are in conflict here. Most will stop at this point; it is very easy to continue to ignore these verses. However, it is available to resolve the conflict. This requires some work and a willingness to grow.
Some use this freedom from sin as “grace” to continue living according to their own desires. Religion ignores this freedom, instead instituting counterfeit religious laws, policies and procedures which purport to be legal standards which determine if one is sinning or not. So, the choice seems to be limited to a practice of lawlessness or a practice under counterfeit religious law. Are these the only 2 alternatives, or is there another?
How are we to live?
The apostle Paul worked diligently to teach about our freedom in Christ. This freedom is not about lawlessness or counterfeit religious law – both are invalid for those who are in Christ. These following verses about our life are misunderstood and mostly ignored:
Galatians 2:19–21  For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (ESV)
Here, Paul mentions the genuine law of Moses. This genuine law is not present in any religious institution today. All religious laws which may exist today are counterfeits. There is no godly result, no righteousness through the genuine law of Moses, much less the counterfeit religious laws.
Note in verse 20 how our life is lived – law is not mentioned, scripture is not mentioned. This is a key verse!
Religious practice does NOT teach or reveal who we are in Christ, our true identity. Verses 19 and 20 touch on this issues of our identity. If you don’t know who you are in Christ, how then can you live as he intends? Without knowing our identity it is easy to succumb to a life of sin consciousness and self-condemnation. However, we can rejoice, because Christ lives in each one of us!
This following essay is an appropriate follow-up to this one: Walking in the Love of God
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(C)2019 Keith S. Radcliffe