Last week we made the case, with supporting scripture, that living by faith is the freedom to do exactly what we want to do. The response to that admittedly unconventional idea is generally either “This is heretical, antinomian and non-Christian,” or “This is too good to be true!”, and there are two perfectly logical reasons for those reactions. Both heredity (I am a fallen son of Adam-”nature”) and environment (I grew up in today’s legalistic version of Christianity-”nurture”) militate against any other response.
However, Jill and I are discovering, as God continues to open our eyes over a lifetime, that this is indeed what “living by faith,” “walking in the Spirit,” and “becoming sanctified,” (all synonymous terms) really means. Daddy has got us safely in His arms, and we are truly free to live just as we please!
Here is the path we are attempting to follow to live in that freedom. Strangely, this freedom is completely dependent on my attitude toward my own constant, ever-present sin:
“First, I recognize and eagerly embrace it, then I believe, with all my heart, that God has totally forgiven me for it, is completely satisfied with me as His precious child in spite of it, and, as I walk in transparency about it, He is actually bringing glory to Himself through it! Hallelujah! We are gradually beginning, with many hesitations, fits and starts, to discover this freedom late in life, and we are finding that it is not possible to be quiet and sit on it!
We are finding we have to tell others what we are learning, hence this blog. What this means (perish the thought!) is that I am, naturally, unconsciously and spontaneously, actually wanting to “go into all the world (my world that is around me every day) and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15), just as the Lord commanded me to do. I may even put words to the love, joy and peace (the fruit of the Spirit) I find myself eager to share with others!
I am not even thinking about it—just doing what I want to do. Is that not what He promises—”to will (want to) and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13)?
To someone who understands this and is coming out of a lifetime of religion, this is the only Christian message they are eager to hear. They may not yet be ready to look outside themselves and ask themselves, “For what purpose did God show me this wonderful truth and then set me free?” and that is perfectly fine. God has them right on schedule. He wants them to thoroughly enjoy their freedom from the crippling effect of religion that has kept them in bondage. .
He indeed wants them to never go to church unless they can’t stay away, to never pick up the Bible until they can’t put it down, and, yes, to never witness (“preach the gospel”) to anyone until they can’t keep quiet!
I approach today’s topic of God’s ultimate intention (why God has shown me His grace and set me free) with fear and trepidation because I know that any slight indication that I am hinting at anything “you must do” sends those just discovering their freedom scattering for cover.
My approach, however, is that this eternal purpose is a promise, a vision of why God has set us free, and what He Himself is already doing in time and is slowly, without our knowledge, bringing us into that very same vision. He wants you to resist Him as long as you can, but know that there will come a time when you lift your eyes up off of yourself and say, “What now Lord?”.
In this blog we have referenced many times this foundational passage from Genesis 1:26-28: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion… over all the earth…’ Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…’”
There you have it—God’s reason for creating man, his ultimate “For what?”: 1.) To look, act, and think like God does, only and entirely accomplished by God’s Spirit who lives within us. Being set free by the gospel of grace sets this process in motion. 2.) Thus free, to then, and only then, rule over the responsibilities God has given us. When we are free to look, act, and think like God does, in essence He is ruling through us wherever we go, whatever we do. 3.) We reproduce after our kind; we are producing, both physically and spiritually, other rulers who follow after us, learning how to rule as they watch us do so.
What does this “ruling” entail? Recognizing that my death—my weakness, inadequacies, sin and failure—in God’s family life-style is the only way to life—the power of faith, hope and love. These are the characteristics of God’s rulers.
This means that every day, as I open the door on the world and go about the tasks God has given me in the world for that day, I do so knowing that wherever I go, whoever I touch, whatever task I perform, the Kingdom of God is there because Jesus is there in me! He is there to love, encourage, decide, plan, propose, refuse, stand, advance, and proclaim— in me!
And I don’t have a clue how, when, or what is even happening! I just know by faith that it is because He said it is, as I am simply living by faith, doing just what I want to do. There are no “ought tos,” “need tos” or “shoulds.” God is doing just as He promised He would do as well—busily working in my life to cause me to “will and to do of His good pleasure.”
Wow! Can you imagine the Church of Jesus Christ getting this message and going out, all over the earth, living every day like this, just as God created us to do, His ultimate intention for mankind? When we do, we will watch as the Lord’s Prayer is answered, as “His Kingdom comes …His will is done, on earth as it is in Heaven!” Father, we pray that prayer again today, as Jesus told us to do. Do it, Father!