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There is always a lot of talk in our country about "freedom." Actually, what men do with the earthly freedom they have reveals that they are yet in bondage. True freedom has to do with God, our sin and our relationship to His law and justice. It is also a matter of the conscience. We are never "free" until we are enabled to worship God in Christ and ascribe to Him the glory for all our salvation. Only a redeemed, liberated people can praise Him. Only those forgiven of all their sins will praise Him as the God of all grace. Only an emancipated people can serve the Lord of glory. "And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me." (Exodus 8:1) All of God's elect have been set free from the curse of the law, the bondage of sin, the slavery of Satan and the power of this world through the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ. They enjoy the blessing and experience of that freedom when He brings them to truly believe the testimony of God's grace in the gospel of Christ crucified, the word of truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Just as Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage by means of blood and power, so are all God's elect delivered through the redeeming blood of Christ and the work of the Spirit. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) Most in our nation, while enjoying earthly freedom, no nothing of that liberty in Christ! God be thanked for the earthly freedom which we in His good providence enjoy but oh to see Him setting those around us free from superstitious, works religion. Free from legalism that enslaves the conscience. Only by God enabling us to believe on Christ and only Christ, enabling us to rest in His finished work and to plead His blood alone can there be freedom to enter God's holy presence or to enjoy peace in our conscience. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14) He who made peace by the blood of His cross has set His people free to worship and serve God our Savior and given liberty and justice for all His people! Men may talk of freedom but there's no true freedom apart from Christ!
--- Gary Shepard
STRIVE TO BE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1 Corinthians 9:25)
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must strive to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It does a person no good to claim to trust, know, and love Christ only to ignore and even reject His Word of grace given to guide us in our thoughts, attitude, character, and conduct. Now in striving to be followers of Christ our Lord and Savior, we are well aware that we do not strive in and of our own power. It is by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit that we endeavor to obey the Word of
God. To be “temperate in all things” is not to be self-controlled but to be controlled by the Holy Spirit Who fills, guides, and motivates us in the ways of Christ. Paul wrote of his own striving in the ministry that it was all “according to HIS working, which worketh in me mightily” (Col. 1:29). We also know that our striving does not save us or make us righteous before God. Christ alone, by His blood and righteousness imputed, is our only justification before a holy God. Our striving is the fruit of God’s grace and the evidence of our faith in, love for, and gratitude to Him for all He has freely given us in salvation. We are to strive with much effort to be conformed to the image of Christ – to be Christ-like in every way, and as we do, we recognize that our life as believers is the life of Christ, Who lives graciously and powerfully within us, “and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
--- Pastor Bill Parker
Behold! I have engraved you on the palms of My hands!" Isaiah 49:16
"Behold," says Immutable One, "I have engraved you on the palms of My hands." Not on the mountains, colossal as they are, for they shall depart; on no page of nature's vast volume, for the last fires shall scorch them; not on blazing sun, for he shall grow dim with age; not on glorious heavens, for they shall be folded together as a scroll. But on the hand which made the worlds, the hand which was transfixed on Calvary, the hand of might and love; I have engraved you there! No corroding power can efface the writing, or obliterate your name!