We talk a lot about freedom – Jesus came to set the captives free, and if the Son has set you free you are free indeed! But did you ever consider the height, width and depth of this freedom?
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:18-21).
I think you would agree it is one thing to be set free, but it is another thing altogether to be given a freedom that overflows with the glory of God. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we rest in our current freedom while we wait with confident assurance for the glorious freedom that is to come.
In our current freedom, we live with the assurance that God has done infinitely more than “wipe our sin slate clean” – he has taken the slate away altogether!
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12). In saying that our transgressions have been removed “as far as the east is from the west,” God is telling us that every sin – past, present, and still to occur -has been erased from our ledger forever . . . and then God threw the ledger away!
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).
It should have been me nailed to that dirty tree, not the sinless Savior. It should have been you pulling against those cruel spikes in order to draw in each agonized breath. And yet in our current freedom, provided for us by the sinless life, substitutionary death, and glorious resurrection of our Redeemer, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). We no longer have to work to please our God. We work because our God is already pleased with us, regardless of the results of our work. God not only sees us as sinless because of the righteousness of Christ, He sees us as having always done only that which is good, noble, and right. My beloved Pastor Tullian loves to remind us of Jesus’ victory cry, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Our redemption is finished; our sin-debt has been paid in full by our Savior.
And as good as our current freedom is, it will get even better on the other side. When we are brought into the presence of Jesus for our eternal rest, it will be a “glorious freedom,” a freedom with no more tears, sorrow, decay, broken promises, broken dreams, fear, doubt, frustration, disappointment, sin, or death. We will sing and dance in the new heavens and new earth, because the Master’s melody will be woven completely into our souls.
Freedom filled with God’s glory is truly too hard to comprehend on this side of the grave. We still doubt, decay, and die in our current freedom. In our current freedom, we still stumble into our old patterns of self-rule, self-absorption, and self-centeredness. And yet, in spite of all of this mess, we are still loved completely and unconditionally by the One who purchased us with His precious blood.
Paul’s letter to the Romans exhorts us to regard our present sufferings as not worthy of comparing with the glorious freedom that is our divine destiny. Is this your hope? Is this your desire? I hope so, because it is your promised future!
This is the gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Rev. Tommy Boland is the men’s minister and sports minister at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. He also teaches adult Sunday school. For more information, including Bible study resource materials, please e-mail [email protected] or visit www.tommyboland.com.