God wants you to be free just as He is free. In fact, this freedom is why Christ set us free (Gal.5:1).
Our problem is, we’ve only known various forms of bondage we thought was freedom.
So God must take us through a process to help us understand that His freedom is better than our freedom. This process is the renewing of our mind (Rom.12:2). For He wants us to see things the way He sees them (1 Cor.2:16).
And it should take no stretch of faith for us to believe that His understanding of joy and life and freedom is infinitely better than ours.
As C.S. Lewis so aptly put it in His classic work, The Weight of Glory…
““It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
What is this grace freedom all about then? It’s God’s life within you that empowers you to fully function in all you were meant to be. As Graham Cooke said at a conference I was at…
“Grace is the empowering presence of God that enables you to become the person that He sees when He looks at you.”
When we properly understand this, we find that God’s grace is boundless, just as His love is unfathomable and His joy is infinite.
Contrary to our popular sin-obsessed evangelical culture, the most amazing thing about grace is that sin is no longer an issue between us and God.
The truth is, He’s not counting our sins against us anymore (See 2 Cor.5:19). In fact, He’s pretty happy with the finished work of Christ on the Cross. He seems to be content to remember them no more (Heb.8:12).
Yet, most Christians still don’t believe this. Furthermore, not only do they think God is still remembering and counting their sins against them, they’re still remembering and counting everybody else’s sins too. Sadly, they stay in a religious form of bondage instead of a rebellious one.
This irony is quite astounding in light of the fact that declaring God’s complete forgiveness and reconciliation is our ministry (See 2 Cor.5:20).
Grace is mainly about empowering who God made us to be in Christ rather than about getting what we don’t deserve. I realize that this is a different take but, again, only because of our sin-conscious religious paradigm. And while I do agree that everything we receive from God is unmerited, it still misses the main point of grace.
Defining grace simply as unmerited favor also means that Jesus cannot be our example of what it looks like to walk in grace.
Why is this so? Because, as Graham Cooke also pointed out, if grace is the unmerited favor of God, then Jesus didn’t have any. Yet, He was full of grace and truth.
The sin issue for us on this side of the Cross is not about forgiveness, it’s that we still see it as a forbidden fruit instead of a toxic poison. We still don’t see that sin has its own punishment in the form of the bondage and toll it takes on our lives. Not to mention, the wreckage of broken relationships it can leave in its wake.
Claiming grace to get away with wrong doing is the baby end of Christian living. As C.S. Lewis said, it shows our complete ignorance of what we have in Christ.
Paul tells us that, while everything is legal for a Christian, it’s not necessarily good for us. Here’s how the Message paraphrase states this reality…
“Just because something is technically legal
doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate.
If I went around doing whatever
I thought I could get by with,
I’d be a slave to my whims.” (1 Cor.6:12 MSG)
Do you see this? Sin is bondage and slavery, and we are no longer slaves. It’s not appropriate because we died and our life is Christ’s life (Rom.6:1-4, 14).
Spiritual maturity is finding the source of our life from Christ. Everything we do from this place will be filled with His joy and love.
We’re not freed to sin, we’re freed from sin’s power to enslave us.
Unlike Adam, our eyes have been opened to what the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil actually is, and now we’re eating freely from the Tree of Life. Sin no longer defines us, empowers our heart, nor compares with the fullness that fills God and the immeasurable power that works within us (Eph.3:19-20). There’s really no contest.
I will finish by using my favorite passage from the Message Bible again.
“Dear, dear Corinthians,
I can’t tell you how much I long for you
to enter this wide-open, spacious life.
We didn’t fence you in.
The smallness you feel comes from within you.
Your lives aren’t small,but you’re living them in a small way.
I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection.
Open up your lives.
Live openly and expansively!” (2 Cor.6:12-13 MSG)
Beloved of God, hear what the Spirit is saying. Live your life openly and expansively. Don’t let the smallness of religion or rebellion fence you in. You are free as God is free. Live in His boundless life of grace. It’s more amazing that you can possibly imagine.