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You May Be Set Free

This is useful for prison and addiction ministries
and for all seeking salvation.

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36


Whatís the problem?

We all struggle with the burden of guilt. Some guilt-burdens are heavier because the mistakes may be larger or the conscience may be stronger. When the burden becomes unbearable, we try to throw it off with denial, excuses, blaming, accusing, and by seeing ourselves as victims.

We may fool ourselves and others but we canít fool God. He sees right through us and knows exactly how big our sins and guilt are. He can waste us right now.... but then he proposes a deal.

Whatís the deal?

The good news is that God loves sinners, though he hates sin. He looks on us with compassion. He knows we cannot pay our own sin-debt, therefore He made a plan to bail us out - a plan so costly that we cannot pay for it, only receive it as a free gift.

In Godís courthouse, justice is applied differently. When we plead "not guilty", we get the maximum sentence for our sins, because "If we claim we have not sinned, we make him (God) out to be a liar" (1 John 1:10).

When we plead "guilty", Godís Son steps in and offers to pay our debt in full. He does not force us - we must ask him. When we do, we are freed from our debt and punishment, but we are then bound by a code of honor that compels us to show our gratitude to our Savior as long as we live. We have exchanged the old boss, Satan, for the new boss, Jesus. We are no longer slaves of a tyrant but children of a caring Father. Thatís a good reason to rejoice every day.

How was this deal made possible?

God created human beings to manage this planet: he put them in the Garden of Eden "to work it and to care for it" (Gen. 2:15). As custodians, humans are accountable to the Owner of this planet. To protect man against evil, God put up a moral boundary for them. If they would stay inside that boundary, they would thrive; if they would step over that boundary, they would wither and die. We still face this choice. Like the first humans, we all fail this test, and we face the same consequences. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom.3:23, also Ps. 14:3, Is. 53:6).

In his justice, God could not leave sin unpunished, yet in his love, he could not leave man unsaved either. So he asked his Son to pay the price of our sins, so that he could set us free: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

When Jesus suffered on the cross, Godís justice and love merged in Him. Therefore the Bible says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21), and, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

How can I get in on this deal?

We all like to be in on a good deal, and out of a bad one. Hereís the best deal you will ever get - peace with God, with yourself, with others and with nature.

The first step is to believe that God exists, for "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists" (Heb. 11:6). Maybe you do believe that God exists, otherwise you wouldnít be interested in making peace with Him.

The second step is to believe the Bibleís message of salvation, for "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). Maybe you do believe the Bibleís message of salvation, otherwise you wouldnít be reading this message. If you feel the need to make peace with God through his Son, you can be sure he is calling you: "Cheer up! On your feet! Heís calling you" (Mark 10:49).

The third step is to ask Jesus to forgive your sins and to change your heart so that you can live a new life to his honor. By surrendering yourself to Christ, the Savior becomes your Savior.

When you have made this commitment, you can know for sure that Jesus has saved you on account of his word of honor: "Whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37), and, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24).

How do you know that Jesus accepted you when you came to him? Answer: "He said so, he gave me his word of honor." Where? "In John 6:37 - whoever comes to me I will never drive away." Can you slip out of Christís hands and end up in hell? He gave us his word of honor that he will not allow that to happen: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

How do I proceed from here?

The new life you have received from God is like a small tree you have planted. Just as the tree needs food, moisture and sunlight to grow, so you need the "food" of Godís Word, the "moisture" of fellowship with other believers, and the "light" of Godís presence, experienced in quality time with Him in prayer. If one of the three is missing, the tree will wither, and so will you. When all three are present, you will grow and become stronger and bear fruit.

Yes, we cannot only take energy in, we must also send energy out. We must do something useful for the Lord and for others. A wise man once said: always testify for the Lord; use words if necessary. He meant that our deeds speak louder than our words. Saved sinners must always try to make life around them better. They must try to prevent harm to others, and try to do good to others - at home, in the workplace, on the road, and in all walks of life. They must practice the Great Commandment of love (Matt. 22:36-40).

By FAITH we enter into Godís kingdom. By FAITH and LOVE we live as citizens of that kingdom. Godís indwelling Spirit enables us to do that. Jesus compared our contact with him to the contact between the vine and its branches (John 15). In contact with Christ (the vine), we (the branches) are filled with his power so that we can bear fruit. "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it" (1 Thess. 5:24).