Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Walk part 3: Freedom from Sin

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3:2-6

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 47-48; 1 John 3

It’s dope that we have forgiveness, but why is there this focus on sin? Why does sin matter so much if we have been forgiven?

That’s what's cool about the whole relationship with God thing. We are free to do what we want to do, but that personal relationship helps to shape our wants and desires. God helps us to be who we want to be by working on changing us from within.

This is the difference between deciding to believe in something and having a belief system imposed upon us. When we are told to believe something because our parents believe it, or out of fear of eternal damnation, or being ostracized from our families or communities then it is impossible to have faith. Faith implies a choice, willingly made, to live in a way that affirms one’s beliefs. Living a certain way because we are told to do so is just another form of bondage.

What I see through out the Biblical narrative is this constant discussion of freedom. God delivered the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. He delivered them many times over during the times of the Judges and Kings. And finally with Jesus he provided a new kind of freedom, a freedom to live how we choose to live rather than just by how we feel.

I know that for me when I decided to really learn more about this whole Christian thing something changed within me. I’m not perfect but it’s amazing how different I am verses a few years ago. My heart is moved by different things. It is more sensitive to the plight of others. I feel more. I love more. I do more.

And these changes have not come because what I was doing was a “sin” or because I feared eternal damnation. These changes came because my heart has changed and grown from something that was hard and cold to a heart that is warm and soft and alive. I feel freer from not doing some of the things that I used to do than I used to feel when I did those things. It’s a strange paradox, but it is not a contradiction. The consistency comes from within, as it should.

I feel sorry for everyone who was raised in a society or a home of spiritual fear. I know that applies to many of us. I know so many folks who are angry at God and much of it comes from this environment of fear created, not by God, but by man.

God challenged me to come to him on my own terms. He dared me to step outside of that fear and come home. And you know what? I’m constantly surprised by how liberating obedience can be.

But I guess that’s just it, much like “sin”, obedience is a choice. I finally get that now and that’s such a blessing. 

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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