We Are Free! Stop Picking Those Chains Back Up!
By: Dave Ebert
In studying Romans for my latest class in the ISOM (Illinois School of Ministry) program, Paul's letter to the Church in Rome was so abundantly clear. He repeated the concept over and over, not out of hollow repetition, but to so deeply drive the point home that no one could deny the truth.
We are free.
Our chains are broken. Sin and death have no power over us. Fear of death and consequence no longer have a place in our lives.
"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." -Romans 8:! NLT
If we belong to Jesus, we are no longer condemned. We are no longer enemies of God, His Word, and His will. We are counted as children of the Most High, with all privileges and gifts that come with being God's son or daughter.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. -Romans 5:8 NLT
The Law of Moses-the law set forth in the Old Testament, by and large-could not save us. It could only show us how much we needed saving. Because we are weak, sometimes selfish, sometimes too emotionally driven, sometimes too judgmental, The Old Testament is not null-and-void because of Jesus. It is proven and completed because of Jesus.
The Old Testament and the Law is the diagnostic testing used to prove humanity's sinful nature. Paul encourages us by telling us our sin and mistakes are not unique to each of us. We have all sinned.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. -Romans 3:23-24 NLT
We have all sinned. We all make mistakes. Sometimes, the biggest mistake we make is picking up the broken chains, the shattered pieces of our sin that God has cast into the sea of forgetfulness, and try to convince God that He didn't understand. As if to say, "No, God, you can't forgive me THAT easily. Look! Look at how ugly this is! I can't be forgiven. Punish me!" We continually pick back up what God wants us to leave at His feet.
The Book of Romans tells us how to live. The Gospel of John tells us the Gospel, the Good News, of Jesus Christ. Romans then tells us how the love story of Jesus's life works in our lives.
Romans is full of "mic drop" moments and inspiration. Paul's letter to the Roman Church is a love letter of encouragement and hope. It's a celebration of what Jesus's sacrifice did for us, and what God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit still do for us, in us, and through us today.
There is hope for times of trouble. We, who love God and follow His Son, while being led by His Holy Spirit can take solace in knowing He will make everything come together in a glorious way.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. -Romans 8:28 NLT
So, even in times of trouble, God is at work. We just need to trust Him. Love Him. Let those chains crumble and rot and disappear at His feet.
Then live free in the love and joy that is salvation, a free gift so that no man can boast. A gift paid for one Friday in Jerusalem.
Receive that gift. Open your arms and hands, dropping the chains and burdens of your old self, and wrap them around the grace and joy that is freedom in Jesus Christ.