Tag Archive: Freedom



“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” -Romans 6:18

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Who or what is your master? Like it or not, we all chase after or focus on something, and it is this same something which dictates or determines our actions, thoughts, goals or desires. Man tends to think he is the master over his own life, but this isn’t the case. Man can choose what has dominion over him, this much is true, but once it is decided, it is sealed, and that individual becomes a slave to that very thing.

Relative recent history gives the term, “slave,” a certain infamy and therefore power, in a very negative sense. Does Paul mean “slave” with the same sort of negative connotation that it has today? I argue not, but let us first understand that slavery in the Scripture, is very different from those, “recent,” examples that blot our history, particularly that of the western tradition. Indeed, much slavery included in the Bible concerns the repayment of debts. Yet, now, Christ has paid our debt in full, that by our faith in Him, it may be credited to us as righteousness. Furthermore, Christ doesn’t refer to us as slaves, but rather, sons, daughters, and even, friends.

Paul indicates repeatedly in his letters, that we are either slaves to sin, or slaves to righteousness. Yet, if we are slaves to righteousness, aren’t we then slaves to God? Furthermore, if this is the case, then can’t it be said that God has no more morality than any of those southern plantation owners, who “employed,” slaves in early American history?

In actuality, the answer is a resounding no! For although Paul uses the word, he does so to put it in, “human terms.” When we examine the slavery mentioned by Paul and juxtapose it with the slavery of history, we find a key difference, and, in fact, it is Christ Himself who is the key that unlocks the shackles that bind our hands and feet, setting us free!

When we look at the contemporary conception of the institution of slavery, we find it not only terrible, but completely self-serving. Though slavery is for the benefit of one, the land owner, Christ came for the benefit of many. In Christ we do serve God, but we too are rewarded in and by our efforts, We find that we benefit in being slaves to righteousness, which negates slavery altogether. In addition, we find others benefit in our being “slaves” to this righteousness, and we are given eternal life and glorify God with our very lives.

Sin is the true slavery, and more in tune with the current view of slavery then the antithesis. For though man’s carnal desires may be satisfied in short term, there is no true benefit, only pacification. What is true is what is eternal. Live for righteousness that you may be a slave no longer, live for Christ. Through sin came pain, death, and misery, but through Christ, we gain contentment, life, and joy. Glory be to God who through His Son broke us out of the bonds and freed us from sin and the wage that comes from it, death.


“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” -Romans 6:14-15

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Once a subject comes to the Lord, and evil’s grasp over a person begins to weaken, the enemy reaches into his well worn bag of tricks to pullout a biggie. Those who come to the cross know that they are forgiven for their sins, and the newly created, not yet having moved onto solid food (Hebrews 5:11-14), may be approached with the temptation that Christ’s blood, which grants righteousness through faith, gives one freedom in sin. God’s perfect word addresses this very thing. Yet, even as I mentioned , that this is a common temptation when first coming to the Lord and knowing only the elementary truths, it can, in fact, afflict even those who have moved onto a more mature diet.

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As Romans 6:15 urges us not to sin while we are covered with grace, The Book of Hebrews reiterates the danger of using Christ’s blood as an excuse for iniquity:

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” -Hebrews 10:26-27

In Exodus 34:7, there are three kinds of sin that are mentioned. There are those sins, which result from the habitual acts and thoughts of the human nature, more or less, because of our “natural” faulty faculties, by which we fall short of the Glory of God. For instance, catching ourselves cursing at someone in traffic. I will refer to these sins as a “breach.” Though I may give these kinds of sin different terms, this is strictly for the purposes of differentiation, and by no means necessarily reflect how the Lord may judge these sins, which is not for me to say. These are just general categories that seem to be implicit in Scripture.

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The second category, and addressed throughout this entry, is iniquity. Iniquity is willful sin in the sight of God. The willful sins are of greater consequence. We know this, not only because of the dangers represented through God’s word, but as those who have engaged in willful sin under grace (as I have) should be able to testify, the conviction by the Spirit concerning such sin weighs more heavily than does the conviction of a breach.

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Thirdly, and yet first in terms of severity, is “transgression,” or willful rebellion. To rebel against the ways of God, is to rebel against the nature of God, and in such sin there is no forgiveness, for there is no repentance. True repentance is not merely the asking for the forgiveness of sin, but turning and walking away from it.

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The similarities of the last two examples reside in the fact that they are both willful. Yet, in the case of transgression, it is a willful rebellion against God. Between iniquity and rebellion there is a subtle difference, in which the degree of the rebellion is emphasized. In iniquity, while one does certainly rebel in the very act of the willful sin, and in fact all sin is disobedience, the rebellion in the heart may not be to the degree of transgression. The latter is often strove for in a permanent sense, that the transgressor is not willing to give all to God, or even allow God to work in that area of sin.

As with some breaches, iniquity too can be habitual by nature. This is usually due to our indulgences in that sin, either prior to coming to Christ, or those times when people fall away and rebel willingly, as I too am guilty of. So for such people like myself, where is the hope? Does it exist for those like me who, by my own admission, have rebelled and fallen away (more than once) having both iniquity and transgression represented in my life? It is somewhat distressing personally to read verses like the one contained in Hebrews. Is there any hope if one is guilty of iniquity?

By the grace of God, I am here to tell you, absolutely! There is still hope, for as I stated earlier, in regards to the convictions of the Spirit, which are manifest when those sins that reside in the scope of iniquity are committed, the conviction is a lot, “heavier.” By the mere conviction alone, we see the Holy Spirit still communicating with us and weighing a burden of conviction upon our hearts. Taking this into account, and knowing that the Holy Spirit is, “a guarantee of what is to come,” (2 Corinthians 1:22) we know by the Word itself we may still be under grace.

Yet, let us not undermine the danger in such intentional sin and disobedience. As with Samson, the Lord eventually left him, and as the Scriptures tell us, he was not even aware that this was the case, which is the biggest tragedy. Thus, when iniquity becomes so prevalent in our lives, we may not know when we have moved from under grace to under wrath. To which point this occurs is not for me to say, nor would I, lest by doing so I may cause a stumbling block for others, for man has a tendency to push the limits of what is right, edging as close as he can before crossing the ethical boundaries he perceives, or that which have been set by the Lord. This kind of knowledge is reserved for the Lord and is between the Lord and the trespasser. The fact is, with a willful progression and steadfastness in iniquity, Hebrews suggest that by engaging in this with abandon, there is no sacrifice to cover the sin!

However, even to those who have at one time in their life, “trampled on the blood of Christ,” or fallen away, you have hope abounding! This is because of our gracious, merciful God, to whom belongs all the glory! Even Samson, though the Lord left him, at his end called on the Lord, and by doing so, God gave him the strength to destroy the temple. In addition, as the parable of the prodigal son testifies, there is much rejoicing in heaven when a former son, or daughter, returns to the Lord. In fact, more so than that of the righteous.

Our Lord is gracious and loving, but He warns us sternly not to take advantage of the grace He has offered us. It has been wrought with the blood, pain, suffering and humiliation experienced by His one and only Son, our savior, Jesus Christ. Shall we choose to hammer the nails deeper into Christ by continuing to sin, knowing full well what Christ endured on our behalf?

The three types of sin brought up earlier can be recovered by grace with a repentant humble heart. Yet, man in his imperfection still continues to sin, but Christ’s blood has both covered the sins of the past, and of the future. The warning is powerful, as it should be, for as some will testify, including myself, with the indulgence of iniquity you by your own accord have departed from under the cleansing blood of Christ. If this is the case, and I pray it isn’t, then you may find yourself much like Samson, with the Lord leaving you and you being unaware. Woe to the man or woman who in such a state is perishing.


“I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.” -Romans 1:4

1 Corinthians 1:22 – “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom.”

Much of philosophy, the liberal arts, and indeed the western tradition can be credited to the Greeks. Great philosophers like Aristotle and Plato offered up theories about the cosmos, thought and metaphysics that are still with us today. In fact, Greek philosophers were the first to suggest a theory of evolution, though it wouldn’t become known as “evolution,” until Darwin. A couple philosophers known for writing theories similar to Darwin’s are, Thales and Lucretius, some 2,300 years prior.

Now it is true that Greeks, especially the Athenians, were considered very intelligent, though their philosophical writing as a whole is made up of treatises both for and against the existence of God. Yet, their own personal belief structure was wildly polytheistic, as were the Romans.

Paul’s meaning in verse 14 is two fold, at least. First and foremost, the message is that Paul’s mission is to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. The second is, because he mentioned the Greeks specifically, that he is to preach the gospel to not only the wise, but the foolish as well. Though, it should be mentioned what’s wise and what’s foolish differ much in the eyes of the Lord than before the eyes of the world.

I myself am a student of philosophy, but I read and present it through a Christian perspective. I agree this probably isn’t for everyone, if not for any more reason than the angry writings you have to read blatantly attacking God and those who follow Him. However, I am analytical by nature and delve deeply into topics, sometimes, honestly, too much. Yet, though it has fault, I believe it is also good in some ways, and again, I utmost try and use my analytical thought to glorify God.


That being said this verse strikes me in another way. Paul and the Romans to whom he was writing would have been more than aware of the significance of this, and not of just the importance of preaching to Gentiles, which was made already apparent by Paul writing them in the first place, but that he was obligated to preach to the most brilliant minds of the time.

Now, I have heard much concerning the debate of how much the mind has a part to play in our relationship with God. Let me just say, so nobody gets the wrong impression, I consider the fact I have all these questions, and that I always have had to seek an answer, to be a lower spiritual condition, if you will, than pure faith. Indeed, it’s been something I have been accused of lacking, simply because I ask questions. Much to their credit, those who have told me this, their motives are pure and feel that it can be a stumbling block, so I don’t regard such criticisms to rude in anyway, though I do disagree that its an absolute stumbling block.

It comes down to a kind of dualism. The freedom our Lord gave us was opportunity for man to either use things the right way, or the wrong way. The scriptures aren’t opposed to the mind. I feel Paul was an amazing example of this, for when one reads his epistles, and one even has a little philosophical background, it’s apparent that Paul was exercising his spirit and his mind. The scriptures give examples of how he “reasoned,” with Gentiles concerning the Lord’s existence and the Gospel. God does not do anything arbitrarily. He gave us a mind for a reason and though I hold those who have a faith beyond questions to a higher esteem than myself, I feel there is a right way to exercise the mind pursuing God that is not only beneficial for my relationship with the Lord, but to those the Lord may place in my path. May He be Praised.


“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2

By far the greatest burden of man is sin and Christ carried this burden, not just for the individual, but for all mankind. It was a burden that only He was fit to bear and take upon the cross to have sin put to death with Him, that anyone who believes upon Christ, their sins may not be counted against them, for their sins, geivious and heavy upon our Lord, will have Perished along with Christ. Yet, unlike Christ, they will remain vanquished, so that like Christ, who on the third day arose victorious, we may come into our new dwelling at the appointed time of the resurrection of man.

Christ carried the disgusting burden of sin because of His great love of us. Even as He bled out, our savior prayed for those who pierced His flesh. We tend to put blame and despise the Romans or Jews who sent Christ to that tortuous edifice, but the shocking realization hits us one day, that we are as guilty as them, for it is because of our disobedience that Christ went to the cross. Therefore, we might as well been hammering the nails through his hands ourselves.

We should mourn and weep for this as well as be in awe at the fathomless love that was expressed that day. Jesus prayed for us instead of cursing us. Let us praise Him. He washed away our curse and guilt with His holy blood, the only thing worthy of atoning for the faults that marred our spirits and ripped open a great chasm between us and God. Jesus bridged that gap, took on our sin and provided the ultimate example of how we should love. As Christ lifted up our burdens, let us rejoice in the freedom He has granted us, but at the same time, let us be diligent and mindful of each other, for hard times and seemingly insurmountable hardship come into each and every one of our lives at some point. Though we can’t be as Christ completely, let us be representations of Him and pick up our brothers and sisters burdens and sacrifice our own comfort so that we may fulfill in some measure what we were called to be, representatives of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


“I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other gentiles.” -Romans 1:13


Paul in verse 13, tells of his strong desire to visit the church at Rome. Indeed, it could be reasonably said, that it was something very important to Paul, for despite it not coming to pass for some time, he never abandoned his plan, but rather held to the desire throughout his numerous travels.

Paul continues telling the reader that the reason he didn’t visit, was that he was prevented from doing so. At least in this verse Paul doesn’t elaborate, but due to the manifest relationship with Paul had with the Lord, it seems that the Lord, even by allowing hardship, postponed Paul’s visit to the Romans.

1,400 Year Old Fresco Found in Roman Catacomb Purportedly Showing The Apostle Paul

The plans of Man and the plans of the Lord scarcely match up. Even when we feel that we are dong something to further the Lord’s kingdom on earth and have nothing but the best of intentions, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is God’s will. Paul did eventually make it to Rome, suggested by the use of the words, “until now.”

This seems to be a place where God’s will and Paul’s desire are in sync, at least to some degree. However, we must remember that in our relationship with the Lord, this may or may not be the case and though we may wait on Him, our desires may never come to fruition.

The fact is that God can easily prevent, or even force people, to do His will, like in the case of Jonah. This is a right God has because of His sovereignty  and like it or not, our existence denotes that we are already part of His will. So, this being the case, where does responsibility fit in, for some suggest that if God is indeed sovereign then it follows that responsibility is an illusion?

"Jonah Leaving The Whale," by Jan Brueghel The Elder. oil on panel, c. 1600

To state it simply without going into pages of philosophical ramblings, our time and place is predetermined in that the decisions we would make freely would be the necessary means to God’s final purpose. An omniscient awareness of choice and it’s outcome doesn’t necessarily contradict or negate the particular individuals responsibility in decision.

In our struggle of our will with God’s we have a freedom to choose what role we will Play in God’s ultimate purpose, and this freedom represents a clear choice and if there is choice, than it follows their must be responsibility in our actions and decisions.

"Adam and Eve," by Albrecht Durer. copper-plate engraving, c. 1504

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