Scripture Reading: Acts 13:38-41
“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38,39)
The gospel is a message about freedom. When we trust Jesus and are justified, we are set free from the guilt of our sins. Before being regenerated, we were slaves to sin. Once we were born again, we were given a new ability — we were able to respond to God in repentance and faith. Through faith we were justified. How wonderful it is to know that they penalty for our sins was paid by Jesus and that His perfect righteousness was credited to us!
The gospel sets us free from our self righteous efforts to save ourselves. Religion, which includes moralism and legalism, is a great enemy of the gospel. Our default mode is always toward a self-righteous view of salvation. We feel as if we must attempt to earn God’s favor and acceptance. We try hard, but fail miserably at it. We can never save ourselves. Our best efforts are not good enough. Thus, Paul wrote these words to the Galatians: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
The “yoke of slavery” to which Paul was referring is our tendency to revert back to a works righteousness view of salvation. The problem with the Christians in Galatia was that they had experienced being set free from their sins and from their efforts to save themselves, by placing their faith in Jesus Christ. But, they quickly drifted back into a performance mode — attempting to save themselves through obedience to the law.
I often find myself doing the very same thing. I base my value on how I am performing. I try really hard to work at being righteousness so that God will love and accept me. When I am doing a good job of it, I feel good about myself; if I’m failing at it, I feel bad about myself. I forget that I am unconditionally loved and accepted by God, solely on the basis of Jesus’ work on my behalf! I drift back to bondage and lose my sense of true freedom. I must constantly preach the gospel to myself and remember that “everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”
Lord Jesus, thank You for setting me free from the bondage of sin and from the guilt of my failures. Thank You that You paid my debt in full and satisfied the justice of God for me. Forgive me when I forget the gospel and revert back to trusting in my own self-righteous acts to save me. Thank You for the freedom You have brought into my life.
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