An old friend of mine spent a couple of years in prison. I didn’t know exactly what happened to him. We lost contact and then it seemed he just disappeared. I knew he had stolen cars and gotten deep in drugs. He struggled with lust. He got involved with gangs. He was one of those old classmates that you wonder what ever happened to them.
Years later, he contacted me because he remembered our conversations about Jesus. Fresh out of jail, he still struggled with his old way of life. He struggled with lust and sexual sin. He knew that if the opportunity presented itself, he may not be strong enough to resist the drugs. We lost contact again as he stopped answering his phone. I’m not sure what happened to him.
I do know that though he was given a new opportunity at life, he remained in bondage to the old. Free from prison, but not really free at all. How true this is of so many Christians who have been freed from the eternal consequences of sin, yet remain in bondage to their old ways of life.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
The gospel is more than just a message of eternal salvation. Jesus paid our eternal debt through His death on the cross and set us free from the eternal consequences of sin. But if we accept & believe in His death and resurrection, yet remain in bondage to the old ways of life – to our anger, bitterness, jealousy, lust, pride, anxiety, and the like – then the power and intent of His death is not complete in our lives. He came to save us from our sins and to sanctify us in His truth for His purposes and glory (John 17:17).
Our struggles with sin don’t end with salvation. But the hope of the gospel is this: He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2nd Peter 1:3). He has given us the Holy Spirit who transforms us into the likeness of Christ as we yield to His work. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, there is HOPE for redemption and new life.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you…For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:11-13
In light of this hope, may we deny ourselves and follow Him; take off the old and put on the new; stop walking in the desires of our flesh or the ways of the world and start walking in the Spirit so that the fruit of His Spirit can be produced in our lives and the hope of the gospel evident in our testimonies.
Praise Jesus! There is real power in His death and resurrection! We now stand resurrected by His Spirit – alive by His grace!
Happy Easter, friends. He is Risen!