Tim Keller | November 19, 2006
The Apostle Paul examines the concept of grace and the reason why our lives must follow Christ’s example. Only through God’s grace and accepting Christ into our lives will we ever find true freedom and our true selves.
Believing in Jesus can totally change your life. Paul, in the Bible, talks about how this change happens because of our faith in Jesus. He also explains why we need this change even though we’re saved by God’s grace alone. There are three big ideas here: knowing we’ve been spiritually enslaved, understanding our deep connection with Jesus, and living out our new life every day.
1. Know you’ve been spiritually enslaved
Paul uses the idea of spiritual slavery to make a point. Back in his day, some people became slaves to pay off debts. He says people are like that spiritually too. They’re either serving God or they’re enslaved to things like their job, family, power, or people’s approval. Paul says we have to figure out what’s controlling us by looking at what makes us angry, scared, or sad. This is the first step to making big changes in our life.
2. Understand your deep connection with Jesus
When we’re baptized, it’s like we’re joining our life with Jesus’. This bond is really strong and it doesn’t depend on what we do. It’s like we’re being born again into a brand new life where sadness is replaced with happiness. This change has already started because of the Holy Spirit in us. As we look forward to what’s coming, our goals should get bigger because God wants to change us into shiny, never-dying beings.
3. Live out your new life every day
The Bible says that when we become Christians, our old life is put to death with Jesus. This means we get a brand new life! This new life gives us the power to break free from the things that used to control us. But we have to choose to live like we’re dead to sin and alive to God. The hard part is keeping in mind who we really are in Jesus, which is so important for this change to happen.
1. How does that work?
Augustine is a good example of how faith can change our identity and what we want. He used to struggle with self-control and had harmful relationships. But after he became a Christian, he found freedom in Jesus and didn’t need approval or unhealthy relationships anymore. This shows how we can replace old habits with new ones that fit with who we are in Jesus.
2. Why does it take so long?
Some people have a hard time making changes, even after they’ve accepted Jesus and understand their new identity. It’s kind of like freed slaves who still act like they’re enslaved because they can’t fully grasp their new situation. In the same way, Christians might struggle to change because they haven’t fully grasped their new identity in Jesus. So, the transformation takes a while.
3. Why is it so hard?
We used to be controlled by sin, but the good news of Jesus sets us free to serve God with all our heart. Even though it’s scary to give ourselves completely to God, we need to remember that Jesus, who has all power, chose to serve and love us. He made sure we have a place in his Father’s home by giving up his own life. When we understand and accept this amazing love, we find real freedom and worth in serving him. He’s the only Master who gave himself for us.
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