Friday, April 09, 2010

FREE AT LAST! Truth That Sets Us Free

All this week we have pondered on what it means to be free, according to Paul’s teaching in the book of Romans. Jesus said that we would know the truth and the truth would set us free (John 8:32, 36). These great truths are presented concerning the past, present and promised work of Truth Incarnate—Jesus Christ—throughout the epistle.

The first section of Romans is doctrinal: chapters one through eleven. The second section is practical: chapters twelve through sixteen. Belief and behavior are intertwined—one grows out of the other.

In the early portion of the doctrinal section, chapters one through five, the focus is on justification. We are free from the penalty of sin. This is based on the past work of Christ on the cross. We are forgiven because He paid the penalty we deserved. I can thus say, “I have been saved.” When Jesus said, “It is finished,” it was a done deal.

In the middle of this section, chapters six and seven the focus shifts to sanctification (and we might say the thread of teaching extends into chapter eight). We are free from the power of sin. This is rooted in the present work of Christ in His saints. While a child of God will not be sinless this side of heaven, they can sin less. I can say, “I am being saved.” Day by day, I can reckon myself dead to sin and alive to God by the dynamic power of the Spirit.

In the final chapters of the first section, chapters eight through eleven the focus moves to glorification (as noted there is overlap in chapter eight with the previous thrust of truth). We will be free from the presence of sin. This is grounded in the promised work of Christ accomplished in His saints when He returns. I can say, “I will be saved.” The best thing about heaven will be the unbroken fellowship with God for eternity. Akin to that, will be the end of that which keeps us apart—sin. As the old hymn says, “Till all the ransomed church of God, Be saved to sin no more.” What a day that will be!

Come, Lord Jesus!

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