True independence is found in Christ
Jeremy Thornton Minute with the Minister
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” (John 8:31) July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring that the original thirteen colonies if this country would no longer be governed by England. Since 1776, the Fourth of July has become a national holiday filled with food, and fireworks and seldom do we take time to remember the occasion for our celebration. We do not stop to think that if it were not for the singing of the Declaration of Independence and the men that fought in the Revolutionary War that we may still be under British rule. Likewise, is the Christian that often celebrates the salvation received and their being in the church but quickly forgets the Savior that has sacrificed and given us all in which we glory. If it were not for Jesus Christ, all would be lost and we would have no hope (Eph. 2:12), but with Him we have the promise of eternal life in heaven, but how often do we stop and ponder this very thought?
As we think about our independence in Christ, we must first notice our position prior to Jesus and the consequences we faced. Prior to Christ and without Christ we were sinners (Rom. 5:89; Eph. 2:4-5; 1 Tim. 1:15) Before Jesus Christ, remission of sins was not possible, and prior to one obeying the commands of Jesus they are nothing more than sinners that have nothing to be prideful about although many are very proud of the sinful lives they live. Being that we were yet sinners, before Christ, we were worthy of eternal punishment (Rev.
20:10; Matt. 25:41; Mark 9:43-44; John 12:48; Matt. 7:21) Sin causes us to not only be worthy of punishment, but it also causes us to be in bondage. Several verses in Scripture refer to sin as “bondage” (2 Tim. 2:26; Heb. 2:14;
See THORNTON, page A15 THORNTON
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Rom. 7:24; 2 Peter 2:19).
After Jesus speaks of the truth that will make one free (John 8:32), the Jews replied they had never been in bondage (John 8:33). Perhaps these Jews had forgotten about the bondage of their forefathers in Egypt, Assyrian captivity (2 Kings 17), or Babylonian captivity, but Jesus was not referring to a physical bondage, but rather was speaking of the spiritual bondage they were under because of sin. How often are we guilty of making a similar statement? How many times do we forget about the guilt of sin that we were under, how often do we forget that we were without hope, how many times do we forget that we were outside of Christ, and many times we forget these the independence we have in Christ and how this independence is available to all that are under such bondage. The only way the Jews were going to be freed from the bondage of sin is the only way that we will be freed from our sins. We must realize that sin causes us to be lost, to be in bondage, and the only available freedom from such bondage is Jesus
Christ. Thanks to God for providing an avenue of freedom from sin by sending His Son to die on the cross (Eph. 2:12; 1 Peter 1:3; Rom. 6:3-9). Jesus, and only Jesus, has the power to make us free from sin. Jesus is the truth that will set us free (John 8:31). Jesus is the truth that can be known (Matt.
16:16-18; John 14:6; John 17:17).
When we believe that Jesus is the Christ and has freely offered salvation to us through the shedding of His blood, and when we obey His will, having our sins washed away in baptism (Acts 22:16), and being added to His church (Acts 2:37-47), then we can be set free from the bondage of sin. After we have been made free by obeying the commands of Jesus then we must continue in His word (John 8:31), continually serving Him, continually walking in the light (1 John 1:7-9), continually looking for His appearing (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
We no longer have to be under the bondage of sin. Jesus Christ shed His blood so that we may be freed from sin. We must realize that were are under bondage, and must look to Jesus and obey His commands in order to gain independence in Him.
Jeremy Thornton is Minister of Highway 77 Church of Christ in Marion.