What Does “Freedom in Christ” Really Mean?

I did a search on the Internet asking what freedom in Christ really means. Now, I know you can’t trust the Internet, but it does give us an idea of what others are being told.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

One site said it means freedom from regulations and following rules. Another said it is freedom from being a slave to sin. Another said it was freedom to make our own choices (I thought we could do that anyway), and still, another said it is freedom to see things clearly.

The prevalent idea seems to be freedom from being under the curse of the law, which means freedom from sin since we are taught that Yeshua took our sins upon him when he was crucified.

All of these ideas have a grain of truth to them, but I think it is simpler than what they say. Yes, Yeshua made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins because he is the substitution for the animal we are commanded to bring to the temple in Jerusalem. God’s Torah states we cannot sacrifice to him anywhere other than where he places his name (Deuteronomy 12:13); when the temple was destroyed in 73 AD, Jews had no way to be forgiven of their sins.

Except through Messiah Yeshua.

Yeshua and his Disciples never taught that the freedom in Yeshua was the freedom to disobey. That is what the Enemy of God wants us to think; it is no different than the line he used on Eve (Genesis 3:4) when he told her, “you will surely not die“, and we all know how that turned out.  Anyone who teaches freedom in Christ means freedom from the law is working for the wrong guy.

I believe that the true freedom in Christ is simply and solely what the Bible tells us it is: freedom from the second death.

Isaiah 25:7-8 says:

On this mountain he will destroy the veil which covers the face of all peoples, the veil enshrouding all the nations.  He will swallow up death forever. Adonai Elohim will wipe away the tears from every face, and he will remove from all the earth the disgrace his people suffer.

which is referenced by Shaul in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 when he says:

When what decays puts on imperishability and what is mortal puts on immortality, then this passage in the Tanakh will be fulfilled: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and sin draws its power from the Torah; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

The freedom we have when we accept Yeshua as our Messiah is not so much freedom from our sins, but freedom from the spiritual consequences of our sins, which is the second death. All will die, and all will come before God for judgment. Those who do not have Yeshua as their Intercessor will have nothing more than their own righteousness to save them from eternal separation from God’s presence.

And we all know how righteous we are compared to what God wants from us: as Isaiah said, all our righteous deeds are but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6.)

Yeshua did not free us from obedience to God; in fact, he reinforced everything that we are instructed to do in the Torah. What he did that was different was that he taught us the Remes, the deeper, spiritual understanding of the law.  The Pharisees only taught the P’shat, the literal meaning of the words, but Yeshua gave us a deeper, more spiritual and more intimate understanding of God’s instructions.

We still need to do as Yeshua did, which is to follow (to the best of our ability) the instructions God gave to all people that are in the Torah. We can’t be perfectly obedient, and that is why God sent the Messiah to us: through the Messiah, we can find freedom from the second death. We all sin and therefore we all deserve death, and ever since that day when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, without Yeshua, there is no forgiveness of sin.

The true meaning of freedom in Christ is that when we accept Yeshua as our Messiah, we will be free from the spiritual consequences of our sins.

One last point and warning: being free from the spiritual consequence of our sins doesn’t mean we won’t suffer those consequences while we are still alive.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe if you haven’t done so, already. I welcome your comments and look forward to our next time together. Until then, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Red Light; Green Light

It’s zero-dark-thirty in the morning and you are on a major road going home. You are stuck at a red light: there isn’t a car in sight in any direction. Do you just go through the light or do you wait for it to turn green?

I confess I might go through it. I have been in that situation more than once, and usually I do wait (no, I am not a major party animal. As an IT guy sometimes I have had to stay really late to get upgrades completed after hours. No…really!)

They say that honesty is doing what you know you’re supposed to do, even when you’re positive that no one will ever find out. For those of us who know and worship the Lord, we understand that while no person may ever find out, nothing is hidden from God. So, do we not go through the red light because we know that is the right thing to do, or do we not go through because there could be someone watching that we don’t see?

In other words, do we obey because we want to obey, or do we obey because we are afraid of the consequences when we don’t?

I bet you can see where this is going….Yeshua said if we love Him we will do what He says, and we are also commanded to love God and love each other. In the very same breath we are also told that if we disobey we will be cursed. Obedience brings blessings and disobedience brings suffering, so do we really have a choice?

It doesn’t seem so, does it? Yet, God gives us free will, and even those that not just ignore Him, but outright reject that He even exists, are often “blessed” with riches and fame.

Or are they? Just because someone has all they could want doesn’t mean it comes from God. There is another power that has control over the worldly things that people crave. And his retirement plan is very different from the one God offers.

Should we obey from love or from the fear of retribution and punishment?

We are told that God was sickened and disgusted with the sacrifices offered to Him by the Judeans when these sacrifices were done along side sacrifices to Ba’al, Asherah, Molech, and the other Semitic gods that they worshipped before they were taken into captivity. They obeyed His commands, but he didn’t want their sacrifices because there was no love or true worship behind them. How often are we told in the Book of Nevi’im (Prophets), again and again, that the blood of bulls and sheep means less to God than obedience. Here it is clear that God wants obedience from the heart, not just going through the motions. Does that mean that if we go through the motions they won’t be accepted? Remember Cain? Cain went through the motions and his offerings weren’t accepted, were they?

I think the answer is that God wants us to love Him as He loves us, and to show that love by loving each other as we would want them to love us.

WOW!! Steve!! What a revelation! You’ve changed my life, Man!!

Yeah, yeah….I know. I am stating the obvious (did you catch the cynicism there?) but as obvious as that is, can you tell me why we still don’t do it? I think the answer is just as obvious: people that regularly do not obey the Lord are people that don’t love Him. And that includes professed “Believers.” As such, those who regularly disobey because their heart tells them to disobey (although that may not be how they see it) are doomed people. God tells us, more than once, that we should choose life and not death- He lays it out simply: if we do as He says, we live in His presence and if we don’t do as He says (in other words, we reject Him), then He will reject us.

The good news is that love is absolutely unstable and untrustworthy: that which we hate today we can love tomorrow, and vice-versa. People who hate the Lord have turned to Him and become strong and fruitful followers, and those raised with God who always thought they loved Him can turn against Him as soon as they hit real strife, such as loss of a loved one. So we need to be aware that our love for God is as fragile as the human spirit, and only God’s spirit is strong enough to get us through the horrors of living. Therefore, rely on God and don’t trust yourself.

The answer, for me, is that we obey God because we love Him and from fear of the consequences of disobedience. I think that is OK because we are, in our very nature, sinful sinners and sin is always crouching at our door. The more we love the Lord the easier it is to obey, but it certainly helps overcome the weakness of the flesh when we realize that disobedience carries consequences we don’t want.

Yeshua told the parable about the good son, remember? Even though he refused to do as his father asked initially, for whatever reason he changed his mind later and did as asked, and for that he was recognized as a better son than the one who happily and immediately said he would do as the father asked, but never got around to it. I think one lesson here is that our heart may initially reject what God asks of us because we love ourselves more than Him, but that can be overcome. Maybe not at first, maybe not right away, but it can be overcome, eventually. And let me add this: when we have the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, living within us and when we listen to that spirit talking to us, we can more easily overcome the flesh because we want to.

There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.  When we stop at the red light, even though we can go through, we are obeying the spirit of the law. To obey the spirit of the law of God, we need His spirit guiding us. If we only want to obey the letter of the law, that is what Shaul (Paul) called being “under the law”, i.e. trying to gain salvation by doing what we are supposed to do, whether we want to or not. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that it is impossible for us to do that, because God really wants us to obey the spirit of the law. That is a heartfelt obedience, that is doing what He wants because doing so will please Him. That is obedience from love.

Next time you come to a red light, and there is absolutely no one around, what do you think you will do? Now ask yourself, “Why?”