As part of our theme of BELONGING for this year we are on a quest to discover the fullness of life Jesus Christ has made available to us. There are four parts to our theme, and you can review all of them by viewing this image.
We are Empowered in Freedom.
Paul writes in Galatians 5 “it is for freedom we are saved”, meaning that Jesus had a purpose in redeeming us from our bondage. The desire of God is that we would experience ALL that is made available through our adoption into God’s family.
Our freedom is made available through the cross. In this recent message, Father of Freedom, Ps Phil Strong shared key elements of our christian theology by highlighting the two sides of the cross. The purpose of this post is to unpack each of these elements and provide you a launching pad for your own personal study. You can see the image relating to the two sides of the cross here.
The two sides of the cross are headed LOVE and GRACE, each fulfilling the purpose of Father God who desired that we should be united with Him in relationship forever. This is succinctly explained by Paul as he writes his introduction to the church in Ephesus. In Ephesians 1:3-8 we read a powerful description of our salvation in Christ. (Click the icon next to the verse to open this passage of scripture.) Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Ephesians 1:5 says we are “adopted into God’s family”. With this adoption we become sons and daughters of God. This gives us an identity that cannot be stolen by the world or the enemy of our souls.
John 1:12 says “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
God call us His children when we believe in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:4 says “God loved us and chose us”. We are included in His family and protected by the Sovereignty of God. All that He has available to Him by way of power and protection are ours.
1 Peter 1:5 says “And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”
We are covered by His power and protected by His love.
Ephesians 1:3 says “we are blessed with every spiritual blessing”. There is nothing that God has not made available to us – every blessing includes everything. It has all been provided for us.
Hebrews 13:20-21 says “Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”
I love that thought, that God has equipped us to do the good work and empowered us to please Him.
Ephesians 1:8 says God has “showered His ‘lovingkindness’ (goodness) upon us.” This term lovingkindness is used time and time again in the Bible to refer to the extravagant love and goodness God desires to pour out on all people. It is without limit and is available to all who would receive it.
James 1:16-18 says “So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”
You are God’s prized possession!
Ephesians 1:7 says “the blood of Jesus is a substitute for us.” This word propitiation is not common in modern language, but refers to a substitute offering that is made in place of another, so that favour can come. This substitute bears the anger or punishment deserved by another.
1 John 4:10 says “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
Jesus was that substitute for us. He came to take the punishment for our sins.
Ephesians 1:6 says we receive “the glorious grace He poured out on us”. This glorious grace is far beyond understanding, that’s why it’s glorious! It is grace that covers all of our past, present and future sins.
Romans 3:25-26 says “For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
We can be reconciled to God because the blood of Jesus makes our life filled with errors right with God.
Ephesians 1:7 says God has “purchased our freedom”. Only God could pay the price that was necessary for the whole of mankind, in fact, all of creation. He has bought us back (redeemed) us from our slavery to sin.
John 8:34-36 says “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”
We are set free because God has paid the ransom price for our salvation.
Ephesians 1:4 says “God’s desire has always been that we would be holy and without fault.” God desires that we be made perfect again, as we were in our creation. God desires that we would be able to stand before Him without mark or blemish, this “right-standing before God” is called righteousness.
Romans 10:10 (AMP) says “For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Saviour] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation.”
This picture here is a lesson in theology, a study of the nature of God. All of this information describes the gift God has given us in forgiveness.
Forgiveness is God’s love in action,
drawing us into a relationship with Him.
God’s love and grace is extended to us in forgiveness.
Phil is a dynamic leader who inspires others to pursue vision with passion.His communication style is clear and loud - you won't be left wondering what he thinks!
Latest posts by Phil Strong (see all)