Part 2: The Freedom of Forgiveness

broken chain

” If the Son therefore shall make you free,

ye shall be free indeed.”

John 8:36

Friday we discussed the Seriousness of Sin, and how it affects our lives. Today I want us to look at the flip side of that coin: The Freedom of Forgiveness.

Freedom: It is such a big issue these days. It seems everywhere you turn people are talking about it. They want freedom of speech, freedom of religion. Some women are seeking freedom to control their own bodies and their decisions. Others are fighting for the freedom to choose who they want to marry.

The freedom I want to talk about today does not have to be fought for. You do not have to earn it, you do not have to work for it, you do not have to protest in order to be heard.  It has already been fought for and it is free for the taking. All you have to do is receive it. It is a gift.

I am talking about the gift of salvation, the gift of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is free, and it will bring you freedom like you have never known.

Friday we talked about the three things that sin causes in our lives: Sin saturates, separates, and it destroys.

Today I want us to look at forgiveness and what it brings. I want you to notice how different the two are.

First, Forgiveness cleanses and heals.

It heals the hurt that sin has caused. It cures that cancer-like sickness that threatens to destroy our very being. Forgiveness is like a salve that soothes a broken heart. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Have you ever gotten hurt? Maybe as a child you fell and scraped your knee, maybe you have burned your hand on the stove, or you have cut yourself working outside. How good does it feel when you dress that wound? You may put a Band-Aid on it, or you may have some sort of ointment that you can apply. How soothing is that?

Forgiveness is just like that. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we let Him come in and clean us up. He dresses those wounds that sin has caused, and He begins to heal our brokenness.

Second, Forgiveness brings fellowship.

Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” You see, friend, where sin separates and causes loneliness, forgiveness brings fellowship.

Jesus wants a relationship with you. We just read that He stands at our heart’s door and knocks. He waits for us to open the door of our hearts to Him. When we do, then Jesus will come in and fellowship with us. He will abide in our hearts, and then we no longer have to feel that separation that sin brings. We have someone with us all the time, communing with us, caring about us. “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”

Third, Forgiveness brings freedom.

As sinners, we have no hope, nothing to which we can look forward. We are bound, trapped by our sin. But, oh the freedom we receive when we allow Jesus to come in and break those bonds of sin! Forgiveness sets us free.

When we accept Jesus into our hearts, He gives us new life, and the promise of a home in Heaven with Him some day. We do not have to let the things of this world get us down. We read in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

In a world where freedom is being begged for, sought after, and fought for, we know where to find it. Freedom can only come through salvation. When we accept Jesus into our lives, we receive freedom from sin, and then as we grow in Christ, everything else will begin to make sense.

Our World needs freedom, but not the kind of freedom for which we are fighting. We need freedom from Sin. We need the kind of freedom that can only come from the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It has already been paid for. This freedom is offered to each of us today. All we have to do is receive it.

What about you, friend? Will you accept this freedom that is being offered today?

Will you allow sin to saturate your life, or will you let forgiveness cleanse you? Will you let Jesus heal your sickness, your brokenness?

Are you going to allow sin to cause separation, or will you accept the fellowship that only forgiveness can bring? Salvation is the only way.

Are you going to sit back and allow sin to destroy your life, or will you allow Jesus to come in and free your soul from the destruction that will surely come outside of the forgiveness of sin?

The choice is yours. It has been laid out for you. What will you choose to do?

I pray, right now, that you have chosen forgiveness. I pray that if you do not know the freedom that forgiveness can bring, that you will accept it right where you are. Ask Jesus to cleanse your heart today, allow him to come in and fellowship with you, and experience the freedom of salvation.

 If you have made a decision for Christ, I would like to hear about it. You can leave a comment here for everyone to read or you can contact me by e-mail.

If you have read this today, but have not made a decision for Christ, I want to encourage you not to wait. You never know when it might be too late. We are not promised tomorrow, today, or even our next breath. If you have questions you would like to ask, feel free to contact me or leave your questions here. I will be happy to answer them the best I can.

God bless you.

The Greatest Lessons Learned are Often the Hardest

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father,

and attend to know understanding.

  Proverbs 4:1 

It was quiet in our house that night as we all lay down to go to sleep. There were no radios playing and no movies being watched. Judgment had been passed and punishments had been given. There was nothing to be heard but the thoughts bouncing around in my own head.

Earlier that night, as the kids headed to bed, one of them looked at me and said, “I guess it will be quiet tonight, huh Mom?” I looked into those sweet little eyes and replied, “Yes, Son, it will be. Maybe that will give you time to think about what you did wrong.”

Hugs were passed out, and a final discussion was presented to assure that understanding had come. Then it was off to bed in quiet rooms as the punishment served its purpose.

Watching my children learn lessons is very difficult for me. I understand that they must learn, but my “Mother’s heart” wants to swoop them up and save them from any discomfort that may come upon them. I have to remind myself that it is important that they learn these lessons now, and that it is okay for them to be unhappy from time to time.

As I lay there that night, thinking about what had taken place that evening, I thought to myself, ” Will they ever learn these lessons we are trying to teach them?”

I am sure that as a parent I am not the only one who has ever felt this way. Anyone who has raised children will tell you that it takes time, but when you are in the middle of the battle it can seem like victory will never come.

I wonder sometimes if God ever feels this way about His children? We are God’s children and we, just like our own children, have to learn some hard lessons. God’s Word has given us standards to live by, and if we choose not to follow those standards we will find ourselves in a place where some hard lessons must to be learned.

There are many examples in the Bible of people who did not heed God’s warning and found themselves in some pretty trying situations.

1) Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden because they chose to disobey God. ( Genesis 3)

2)  Jonah found himself  in the belly of a fish because he did not go where God told him to go. (Jonah 1-2)

3)  Samson found himself blind and on the verge of death because he did not heed the instructions of God and his parents. ( Judges 13-14)

Does God allow these things to happen because He is a mean God? No, our God is a God of love! He is also a God of truth and He has told us what we should do. If we choose to go against His word then we will be allowed to receive the punishment that we have brought upon ourselves. In each of the above stories you will find one common thread. Each of these people went against God’s commandments and found themselves in trouble.

God wants to see us succeed and prosper in life. He knows what is best for us, and He has laid out those guidelines in His word. Sometimes, however, we may have to go through the fire in order to come out on the other side, purified and refined for His glory.

We set rules for our children to follow. We also set punishments for disobedience. Do we do this because we want to be mean? No, we do it because we love our children. We want them to grow up healthy and able to contribute to society. We do it because we love them.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us,
that we should be called children of God.

  1 John 3:1 a

If we do these things because we love our children, how much more does God love us as His children and want to see us healthy and contributing to His Kingdom.

I want to encourage you today to study God’s Word, find out what the standards are for living a Christian life, and then follow them. God has not given us a long list of rules in order to control us and keep us from enjoying life. God has given us rules and commandments to keep us safe so that we can enjoy life in Him, and so we will be able to minister for His Honor and His glory.