Freedom in Christ

March 2, 2023

Some people make me nervous when they quote scripture. It is because what they seem to mean by the verse doesn’t seem to be what the verse appears to mean in context. For example, consider Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, ESV)

What some seem to mean is that their impulses are so Spirit guided, they don’t need to worry about what scripture says. Now I’m not opposed to feelings and impulses. When I have impulses to give, serve, or speak a good word for Jesus, I’m endeavoring to act on those impulses. I do believe in God’s providence to put opportunities in our way. But feelings are not a test for truth. Hopefully our feelings flow from our acceptance of truth and are tested by truth.

So, what does Paul mean by freedom? It is helpful to look at other places where he explains his concept of freedom.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, ESV)

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13, ESV)

For Paul, freedom in Christ is freedom from the bondage to law which condemns us when law is used as a means to salvation. We can’t be saved by our perfect law keeping (by merit), because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Our freedom in Christ is also the freedom not to sin. We have forgiveness of our sins by the atoning death of Christ, so our past burdens are removed. We have spiritual help in the present to aid us in the battle against temptation and to grow in Christian graces. Paul warns Christians of the two paths in life that we still face: “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace…. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:6, 13, ESV)

Freedom in Christ is not freedom to do as you please and ignore scripture. Scripture, after all, is the Spirit’s inspired message. It is freedom from perfect law keeping and merit when we accept God’s grace in the atoning death of Christ. It is freedom from the bondage to sin, when we find and use the spiritual resources that God has richly provided for our victory. The journey in Christian living has taught me that this is true Christian freedom. The freedom to be the human being God intended me to be for there is found love, peace, and hope.

—Russ Holden

The Power of Your Mindset

January 20, 2023

Mindset is a very powerful thing. The Scripture makes this fact abundantly clear. Paul writes in Romans chapter 8, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…” (Romans 8:6 NAS95) Similarly, Paul wrote to the Philippian church: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 NAS95) 

God is offering us His peace! He, as the God of peace, is offering to be with you through the storms of life. He can give us His peace no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in! (2 Thessalonians 3:16) But here is the key: Are you setting your mind on the things of the Spirit? Are you setting your mind on what is true, lovely, and right? Our mindset will determine what we will receive from God. 

It is very easy to let our minds focus on our problems, anxieties, and fears. When our troubles are our focus, we miss out on the supernatural peace of God. That’s not to say that we should never think realistically about challenges that face us, but we must not let our mind be overcome with worry. There needs to be a reset of the mind and heart. 

It is also very easy to let our minds focus on the pleasures of this life. When our mind is constantly set on the things of the world rather than the things of God, the storms of life, when they come (and they will come), will shake us to our very core. There will be little peace found because our mindset has stopped the flow of spiritual power and nourishment from God. 

What do you dwell on during the course of the day? Where is your mind set? If we will set our mind on the Spirit, we will find life and peace! It’s a promise of God! 

—Scott Colvin