Free indeed! (11-11-20)
Knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
After over 30 years living in the same home and bringing up their family, my sister and brother-in-law are moving house this week. In the way that these things go, they are packing up on Wednesday, moving out of their current home on Thursday, and completing the transaction and moving into their new home on Friday. And then beginning the process of unpacking and settling in over the next few days, weeks and maybe months.
As we celebrate Armistice Day, we remember the beginning of the end of the first world war, the day when the armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed. Shelling had ceased by the end of the day and celebrations started around the world, but it was months before some of the troops returned home, and years before life got back to normal.
When Jesus died on the cross he cried out ‘It is finished’, marking the end of his battle with sin and death. From that point of victory, freedom was assured and the road to eternal life was open, but it didn’t become a reality overnight. As with moving house, the money was transferred, the contract had completed, their address had changed, but there was still a lot of unpacking to do. Or, as with Armistice Day, there was still a lot of work to do in realising the peace that has been so expensively won.
For each of us, forgiveness is assured when we become followers of Jesus and we make him Lord of our lives. That work is finished, there is nothing more we can add to secure forgiveness, freedom or eternal life. The contract is completed and paid for. The armistice is signed.
What we do need to do, though, is to unpack the boxes and to learn to live in the freedom that Christ has won for us. Or, in armistice terms, to grieve the destruction of the past and to build for the future that God has prepared for us. And that can take time.
Are there areas in your life where you are still bound by the past, and not really living in the freedom that Jesus has won for you? Are there areas that are battle-torn and need to be slowly healed and rebuilt?
All of that is possible when we bring them to Jesus, with whom there is no condemnation and in whom there is complete freedom.
Thank you Jesus that you died to bring me freedom. Reveal to me the areas of my life where I am still in chains to the past and set me free. Show me the boxes of treasures I still need to unpack to discover the blessings you have prepared for me.
Behold the author of our salvation