Do you feel more free as as Christian than you did as a non-Christian? Do you feel more free than your non-Christian friends?
Half of me shouts ‘Yes! Of COURSE! Jesus has taken all my shame and my mess. He’s nailed it to the cross. In return, He’s given me His goodness – and Himself. There are times – especially when I’m singing, or praying or with other believers, when I can feel it, right down to my little toes. It’s brilliant. A world and a relationship I could never have imagined.’
Part of me says ‘Hmmm’.
Part of me thinks back to when I first became a Christian and tried to iron, hoover and slave away as a witness to my non-Christian parents.
Part of me thinks…wouldn’t it be liberating to be sky-high on drugs and free love and all the other stuff I just don’t do? Unshackled from morality. Freed from expectation and routine and service.
Not gentle, LOUD. Not selfless, PUSHY. Brazen and bold and Totally Inappropriate in Every Way.
Part of me wonders, is Christianity just another set of rules? A higher standard, and one I’ll never meet?
Does it start with grace, but then end with works? Jesus wipes off the bad stuff, but then it’s up to you to keep yourself clean? Jesus dies on the cross as a model for the way we need to live too?
What if Jesus died to free us? (He did). What if “redemption” means He pays the price to free us from slavery? (It does). His death is a “ransom” payment. We’re standing in the slave market, shackled to our old master – the law. We try to work our way out but the chains just cut deeper. Step forward Jesus. He buys us at an exorbitant price. Grudgingly, the tyrant sets us loose.
Which brings us to another question – Why? Why has Jesus freed us? To squeeze more service from us? To bring us under an even harsher regime? No! As Galatians 5:1 tells us:
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
Jesus ransoms us into a freedom the world knows nothing about.
Freedom to be myself – more me, than if I’m acting for the world.
Freedom to serve others – joyfully and in the strength He provides.
Freedom to take risks – and to say ‘no,’ confident in His love and free from fear of men.
Freedom to make mistakes. Freedom to fail. Freedom to live.