By Evan Pyle

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)


The culture and time into which I was born has shaped my beliefs, attitudes, and world view in ways I have trouble comprehending. The same is true for all of us. We reflect the views of our society without realizing how we came to think some of the things we think. As an American and having come of age in the 1960’s, I find this is especially true for me regarding the concept of liberty. Without ever having reasoned it out, I came to think of freedom and liberty as my innate right to do anything I pleased. After all, it’s a "free country", isn’t it?

In fact, liberty does not exist in a vacuum. We are not simply free. Biblically, we are always free from something, while at the same time, enslaved to something else. Paul makes this contrast clear in Romans:

Romans 6:16–18:
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

The question is not whether we are free, but from what are we free. Before we were saved by grace through faith, we were all free from God’s righteousness. We were slaves to sin, enslaved to the "motions of sin" (Rom. 7:5). But when we were saved, Christ made us "free indeed" from sin; and we became servants of righteousness. Our freedom in Christ does not make us free to do as we wish. We are made free from sin so we can become servants of righteousness.

Romans 6:20–22:
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

When we were the servants of sin, we were in bondage. We did what sinners do, which is to sin. We were under the control of sin and it was our master. When Christ freed us, sin was no longer our master. If this is true why do we act like sin still has mastery over us? We are like slaves who have been officially freed but have not yet heard the news. When we hear the news we are glad, but stay exactly where we are because that is where we are comfortable, what we are used to. We act as if somebody needs to come and take us by the hand and lead us out, though we are free to simply walk out under our own power.

When we received Christ by faith, we "died with him" and our old sinful nature was crucified with Christ so we would no longer serve sin (Rom. 6:6). As Paul said, "For he that is dead is freed from sin" (Rom. 6:7). But to walk in this freedom we must reckon ourselves to be "dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:11). To "reckon" means to believe and act like it is true. If we are no longer servants of sin, we can walk away from sin. Sin no longer has a claim over us. But we will not stop sinning simply because we have received Christ. If we live in the old, we will do what we always did. If we live in the new, if we put on Christ; his divine nature will be shown.

It is almost impossible to bring a controlling problem to a dead stop without replacing it with something else. That "something else" is the life of Christ. This is the "newness of life" spoken of in Romans 6:4. Sin will not simply self-destruct and go away. Nor will it yield to emotion and sorrow or theatrical shows of repentance.

It is futile to attempt to clean up the flesh. Jesus is not a sin-plucker or a void-maker. He is not in the business of emptying, but of filling. I understand the frustration with the "sin which doth so easily beset us" (Heb. 12:1). We want Jesus to take sin away and remove it from our lives. We should instead be asking him to fill us, to flood us with the mighty Niagara of his love.

1 John 4:18:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

If our lives are filled with his love, there is no room for fear. If we are filled with love for Jesus, we will not love the worldly (1 John 2:15).

The apostle Paul himself was exasperated with his struggle with sin, finally exclaiming, "Who shall deliver me?" We need to make Paul’s answer to the sin problem our answer. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 7:24–25).

We are emancipated from sin; we are free from bondage to sin. Does it seem too good to be true? But it is true. We can literally walk out on the devil. Satan has no more claim over the child of God. Sin is no longer in control. Yes, sin is still present in our flesh, but we are no longer helplessly under its control. However, Satan will never accept our departure without a fight. He will harass, seduce, press a new claim and accuse. "See? You’re no different now. You’re still rotten, selfish and weak. Quit now. Give up. You’re just wasting energy. It’s too complicated and too difficult."

Fellow saints, those are lies! When the accuser raises his ugly head we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness through Christ. We have the victory over sin based on the merits of Christ’s sacrifice. We need to pull down those strongholds of defeated thinking and lead every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5). Let us confess our sin, get back on our feet, and regain our momentum. We must stop our harmful introspection. We drain away our energy and momentum when we sift through the garbage dump of our dead, smelly works. Instead, we must look to Jesus and his work on our behalf.

Hebrews 12:2–3:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.



From the April 2010 issue of The Vine & Branches