2. The Bible Message of Freedom
Continuation from 1. Changing Our Identity
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.
Ephesians 1:7 NIV
“In Him we have redemption“ is a powerful phrase which needs a bit of unpacking.
Those two little words “in Him“ are some of the most powerful words in the Bible. That phrase stands for the change of identity that comes on us through accepting Christ's Lordship. We talked about trusting in what He has done for us, dying on the Cross as our Saviour. But Jesus was raised to life again on the third day and after being seen by all the disciples and hundreds of others, He ascended to heaven to great acclaim and given all power and authority. When we receive Him as the new Lord of our attitudes and preferences and decisions, it is like putting on a new spiritual uniform that shows the unseen spiritual world who we are taking our orders from.
The ancient world was familiar with slavery – being a bond servant – and familiar with a process by which payment could be made to the owner to secure freedom. Rarely, that payment could be made by somebody else as a sponsor, security of freedom.
When we become Christians – meaning a conscious choice to accept Jesus as the only source of all salvation and to willingly defer to his Lordship in our lives — a spiritual change in our identity occurs. He has become the sponsor who paid for our freedom.
We now belong to Christ and wear his spiritual uniform, instantly recognisable in the unseen spiritual world. But it is also a transition from bondage to sin and selfish living, orchestrated by the devil and his minions, to freedom in Christ. We have freedom to obey Him and live differently.
Less helpfully, we also have freedom to revert to our old pattern of independently doing what WE want — but there are consequences.
That is sin, and it is the reason that we need to frequently take opportunity to put that right with him.
However, He knows our human fallibilities, and our forgiveness has already been secured.
The Passion Translation sets out this truth largely free of theological jargon:
Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by His blood — the total cancellation of our sins — all because of the cascading riches of His grace.
Ephesians 1:7 TPT
This wonderful gift and unearned privilege, that comes to us through God's forgiving goodness and Jesus' sacrificial action, is not always well understood or clearly taught in church settings. Possibly that is because it is so counter-cultural. Everything that is familiar in life is about reward and merit, from passing exams to getting a good appraisal and a job promotion.
The kingdom of God works differently! Read on in Part 3: Renewed Minds See the Freedom.
Back to Part 1: Changing Our Identity