CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Freedom in Christ 7/4/2022

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by Precarious Yates

“Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”  2 Corinthians 3:17-18, ESV

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! (See Gal. 5:1) What a glorious truth  this is to celebrate on the Fourth of July, a day that people in the United State of America celebrate freedoms so hard won. As we celebrate the freedoms that so many men and women fought to win for this country, let us take a moment to gaze at the freedoms that Jesus won for us by His death and resurrection.

We have freedom from the fear of death. This is huge. The tyranny of this fear looms large over the lives of so many people. All the time, people are trying this new diet or that new exercise to forestall death. So often, I find myself getting sucked into the cycle of finding the next best supplement that will prolong life. But Jesus, in His mercy, frees every one of us from all of that. While it’s good to be healthy and take care of ourselves, we should not be so obsessed over our lives on this side of eternity, only who we make Lord of our lives.

We have freedom from sin. Through Christ’s work on the cross, we can enter into grace, and what an amazing grace it is! We are made righteous through Christ, and we can be empowered to walk in righteousness through grace. Paul said it well in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Paul said, in Ephesians 3:8, that although he was, “the least of all the saints,” there was grace that was given to him “to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Do you realize, beloved, that you, yes you are carrying on that torch passed from the Apostle Paul?

This brings me to another freedom we have: freedom from racial hinderances that once barred people from full participation with God and bringing His purposes to earth. It used to be that only Jews had access to the One True God. Jesus Himself confirmed this when he said, in John 4:22 that “salvation is from the Jews.” Yet when He rose again, He commissioned His disciples to preach the Gospel to the whole world. Jesus asked that after they preached in Jerusalem, they start preaching in Samaria, a place where there had been centuries of up-close and personal animosity. He brought reconciliation where there had been prejudice, racism, and hatred. In Galatians 3:28, Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ.” Furthermore, in Colossians 3:11, Paul says something similar: “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all. And in all.” To be equated with a barbarian or Scythian would have been deeply insulting to most people at that time. They were the “low lifes,” the “scum of the earth,” and the people who brought chaos, mess, and war. But in Christ, we are all made new and can be radically transformed into His image. And because “Christ is all and in all” who call upon Him to be saved, we can be reconciled to one another. Can you think of people in your life God would want you to reconcile with? Are there circumstances in your neighborhood or city where this needs to happen? This is the gospel, and we have been granted the freedom to preach this good news.

We have freedom of direct access to God, as a royal priesthood. In the Old Testament, when the priesthood was solely from the tribe of Levi, only men could be priests, and only one man, the high priest, could approach the Holy of Holies, and that was only once a year. Jesus, our High Priest, is in an entirely different order. Both Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 6:20 tell us that Jesus is High Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. And as our High Priest, he appoints whoever He wants as priests under Him. In His divine wisdom, He has made ALL of us to be kings and priests to our God! Whether male or female, we are part of the royal priesthood (see 1 Peter 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6, 5:10). He gave this incredible freedom to us so that we could work with Him in bringing the gospel to the nations.

We’ve been invited into a beautiful freedom! “You were called into freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). Let’s use that freedom the way it was meant to be used. Let us love fearlessly, empowered by grace, recognizing that Christ has removed all dividing walls between peoples and has promised reconciliation.

Happy 4th of July! Let’s praise the One who gives us true freedom!

May God richly bless you!

Precarious Yates

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

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