Summary: When God created us, he gave us freedom of choice. We can choose to believe in him or not. To sin or not. There is no gray area. To live in sin is to be a slave to sin. We are free to choose between two masters, but we are not free to manipulate the c
Opening illustration: Play the ‘Finding Freedom’ video
A father was talking with his rather rebellious son one day & said, "Every person who lives in the United States is a privileged person." The boy answered, "I disagree." And the father replied, "That’s the privilege." We have the privilege to disagree. We have the privilege to speak our mind. We have freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, and the right of petition. We have the freedom to hope & dream & pursue our dreams. We are free in so many ways! Is that really the freedom ‘God’s Word’ talks about?
Let us turn to Romans 6 and see what God is trying to convey to us …
Introduction: As Americans today, we believe we are truly free. We are free to choose how we live, what we say and how we believe. Some of us choose to live as husband and wife and others choose to live in same sex relationships. Others choose not to marry at all and live life alone. Some practice freedom of speech, through radio and TV broadcasts, books and pulpits. And others choose to keep their opinions to themselves. Some choose to worship the moon and stars, idols and Satan. And others choose to worship and follow God. Today we all have the right to vote for our leaders and exercise our political freedoms. Our parents taught us to do as we please, live the way we want (within the law) and be whoever we want to be. The sky is the limit! Right? But even though we have all of these earthly freedoms and have been declared independent, are we really free? Are we truly joyful? What does the bible say about being free?
In the book of Exodus, God chose Moses to lead the Israel people out of Egypt as slaves of Pharaoh. They had been slaves for hundreds of years and wanted to be set free. God heard them and decided to answer their prayers. Exodus 6: 6-7 says, "Therefore, say to the Israelites …” This scripture resembles the similarities that the people from the American Colonies must have felt when they were held in bondage by Great Britain. They too were freed by God, when they were allowed to legally separate from them in order to practice their religious freedoms. We can also refer to this scripture when African Americans were freed as slaves. They were also held in bondage for over two hundred years by a race of people who wanted to feel superior over them as well. This scripture represents being physically enslaved and freed, but what about our spiritual freedom?
When God created us, he gave us freedom of choice. We can choose to believe in him or not. To sin or not. There is no gray area. To live in sin is to be a slave to sin. We are free to choose between two masters, but we are not free to manipulate the consequences of our choice. When we continue to make bad choices or do evil against others, we choose sin which pays by eternal death. But when we live for God, we become free from sin and our spirit is renewed and we have a hope of eternity with Christ. This cannot be earned as it is a free gift from God.
First, we must understand it is GOD’s mercy that will cleanse us of our sins. Not one of us is deserving of forgiveness on our own merit. "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away; they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Romans 3: 10-12.
Some Christians today believe they will find forgiveness by working harder in His kingdom, when in reality they received forgiveness when they were baptized into Christ. GOD’s grace is a ’free gift’ based on GOD’s mercy and our trust in His promise to cleanse us with the "blood" of His Son Jesus. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. Romans 3: 22-25. It is our belief that GOD forgave us because we trusted His Word enough to choose to become a Christian.
We are forgiven through our belief in Christ’s sacrifice for us. Our human nature which is constantly tempted by the evil that surrounds us and our weak attempts at performing righteous acts can never measure up to GOD’s standards. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64: 6. Instead He wants us to recognize our true state of helplessness and rely on Him alone. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word."