Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bound or Free?

In John 11:38-44 we read the amazing account of Jesus' good friend Lazarus being raised from the dead. Besides being an amazing miracle that displays once more the divinity of Christ and His Messiahship, it is also a beautiful picture of what Jesus came to do for ALL who trust and follow Him.

Jesus not only gives life to the dead, granting us new hearts and making us new creations through faith in His finished work...He is also beginning, even in THIS life, the process of "unbinding" us, of liberating us, from "old grave clothes"...of "linen strips and cloths" that bind us and blind us.

We are born-again by the power of the Spirit through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone--our sins are forgiven, we are granted a new standing/status before God as beloved sons and daughters...He declares us to be as perfect as His One Eternal Son, Jesus! I'll never get tired of writing or reading those words!!

As those who hope in Christ alone, the reign and rule of sin is broken, but it's presence is not eradicated...yet. For some reason, in God's wisdom, He allows indwelling sin, a defeated enemy, to continue to have a presence in our souls...We are in fact raised from the dead...but there are still some old "grave clothes" that need to be removed and replaced with a new wardrobe.

These grave clothes with which we arise out of the tomb of the Old Man Adam, are strongholds of sin and evil which Christ intends to free us from...just as He commanded Lazarus to be unbound...just picture Lazarus, alive, somehow shuffled from the tomb, but looking somewhat like a "mummy," waiting for total freedom!

The "linen strips and cloths" that bind us and blind us could be pains and wounds from past sin (our own, or from being sinned against), stubborn sin patterns we have chosen in a desperate attempt to escape brokenness in our own efforts, even strongholds of evil that seek to pull us back into the grave.

BUT CHRIST...He is the Resurrection AND the Life! Jesus is the Resurrection--He raises us from the dead, He gives us new life, He makes us into new creations. Yet, though we are genuinely new, we are not yet completely new...not until the New Heavens and New Earth.

BUT CHRIST...is ALSO the Life! He is the Author/Giver/Perfecter of the Abundant Life...a life now on this planet with the hope of being increasingly "unbound" from our own grave clothes.

Christ is at work daily, by His Spirit, replacing linen strips of sin and cloths of blindness and brokenness with a new wardrobe! Not only does He give us at conversion a Robe of IMPUTED Righteousness...His OWN righteousness that gives us and grants us the Perfect Standing and Status before the Holy Father; Christ is also daily fitting us with a new wardrobe of IMPARTED Righteousness...actually working His own righteousness and holiness and freedom into our hearts!

And, as in John 11, Jesus most often uses friends, the Fellowship, The Body, to unbind and free us.

As He spoke in Luke 4:18--The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.

As a good friend of mine says constantly: Outside of Christ, people are constantly struggling to be free; In Christ, as we walk in grace, we are free to struggle...until the wardrobe change is complete.

May you walk this day, more and more in the freedom of life in Christ!

1 comment:

susanelizabeth31 said...

Is it a sign that one needs to learn something when two different people from two different places talk about the same subject in the same week? This “imputed righteousness” thing. I’m having a tough time getting a handle on it-what EXACTLY is it? Perhaps that would be the starting point? But, okay, I want to understand it better. And seriously, I think you might almost even get along with that other person except for the differences on baptism (he’s definitely a devout Baptist minister now). But what is this “imputed righteousness” exactly?

And I’m still trying to figure out why on earth we say “The Apostle’s Creed” in a Protestant church???????? What does it mean? What’s with that line about “the Catholic Church?” If we’re Protestant, then why do we say something like that?