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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Love in Freedom (18)

November 4th, 2009
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Scripture of the Day: John 14:6-7

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (NIV)

Let’s see where we are in understanding this love in freedom.

As we have said: Freedom must be understood in the context of loving God with all your heart, mind, body and soul. And loving your neighbour as yourself.

Thus the goal of freedom is to enhance this love.

This freedom comes from God’s own internal freedom which is expressed in love for the other.

Yet, because our knowledge of God is really grounded in God himself acting and revealing himself we cannot change who God is by seeking some sort of description for God that ignores or compromises the fact that from eternity God really is none other than the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – a community of being which loves in freedom in a unique and transcendent way.

God reveals himself in Christ as a loving being who creates the world and humankind out of a desire to have a creation to love and to lead, like the shepherd loves and leads the flock. From this perspective, the entirety of history appears as the process whereby the divine shepherd leads creation to its final goal.

The crown of creation is the human creature, made from the beginning as a free and therefore responsible being.

That freedom is such that it allows us of ourselves to become increasingly distant from God, but in Christ that freedom allows us to be conformed to the divine will and nature, and thus to enjoy an ever growing communion with our Creator.

Jean Galot wrote:

The Father assumed a risk in endowing the human person with freedom: the risk of subjecting himself to rejection and hostility. The free creature has the power to confront his Creator and reject his authority. He can commit sin.

The risk is implicit in the very nature of the paternal intent. In willing to be the father of those he was creating, the Father wanted them to be free so they might behave towards him not like slaves but like sons. Liberty is the mark of a son.

We need to stress that, in the Father’s plan, freedom is given to men in order to make possible in response the most spontaneous , the deepest filial love on their part. The Father wants to find in his adoptive sons the reflection of the love rendered to him by the only begotten Son. Now, this love is the most spontaneous imaginable. Men are invited to love the Father freely, in the image of Christ’s love for the Father.

God wants sons and daughters. He doesn’t want zombies who lack the freedom to think and who only choose to obey with coercion and who do not love spontaneously their heavenly Father.

Jean Vanier wrote:

A community knows that the fundamental questions of life can only be looked at in a spirit of peace and inner freedom. Nobody can force anyone else to love and to walk in freedom. Militant s for a cause will tend to be organized for a struggle, which they hope to win; they will seek to impose their way aggressively. Frequently they seek outward change more than inward change.

Jesus Christ is the truth about God and the truth about man, since He is both God and man. God’s real nature is completely revealed in the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, and the whole truth about man, his worth, value and dignity, are realized and made manifest to man in the Son of Man, Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus reveals we are meant to be sons who in their freedom perfectly obey their Father because of their spontaneous love for him.

Grace is absolutely free. It’s absolutely free but it’s always costly because it cost God everything. It cost him sending his own Son, so therefore, it could never be had by us by anything other than by a deep response of gratitude and thanksgiving – that is far more than verbal.

Karl Barth wrote:

God’s free grace is God himself, in his most inner and essential nature, God himself as he is. This is God’s secret, as it is now revealed in Jesus Christ to those who hear and accept him as God’s Word, and as it will someday be revealed to all when the veil will be removed from all eyes, when it will be revealed in its fullness, clarity, and blessedness to the eyes of all his creatures, even those who are now blinking, squinting and blind, even to our own evil and perverted Christian eyes.

Message for the Day

Love in Freedom (17)

November 3rd, 2009
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Scripture of the Day: Romans 8: 18-25

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (NIV)

We are like the proverbial caterpillar in our transformation.

A story of change – everything moving to a wonderful new creation with new freedom.

Thus as we wait we must be open and dynamic – not closed and static.

“The God revealed in scripture and the God that we worship and serve is free. We cannot control or coerce God. We cannot contain God in our systems, creeds or plans. God cannot be domesticated.”

Baptist World Alliance President David Coffey

We must not limit God to our experience and rationality. We do not contain God in our system of thought. We are always open and growing in hearing what God says about himself and in particular how he discloses himself in Jesus Christ.

In that sense we are always in Christ’s Master Class be cause in him we are learning the truth about God and thus being set free from ourselves and the distortions of our own imaginations. We stop trying to second guess God.

Karl Barth wrote:

God’s free grace. I want to mention one last thing. Because it is free, it reached beyond the present form of man and his world, and so the proclamation of the Church must always be the proclamation of a new heaven and a new earth in which justice dwells, the proclamation of the mystery of Jesus Christ.

God is not hidden to us; he is revealed.

But what and how we shall be in Christ, and what and how the world will be in Christ at the end of God’s road, at the breaking in of redemption and completion, that is not revealed to us; that is hidden.

Let us be honest: we do not know what we are saying when we speak of Jesus Christ’s coming in judgment, and of the resurrection of the dead, of eternal life and eternal death. That with all these there will be bound up a piercing revelation – a seeing, compared to which all our present vision will have been blindness… For we do no know what will be revealed when the last covering is removed from our eyes, from all eyes: how shall we behold one another and what we shall be to one another -men of today and men of past centuries and millennia, ancestors and descendants, husband and wives, wise and foolish, oppressors and oppressed, traitors and betrayed, murderers and murdered, West and East, Germans and others, Christian, Jews, and heathen, orthodox and heretics, Catholics and Protestants, upon what divisions and unions, what confrontations and cross connections the seals of all books will be opened; how much will seem small and unimportant to us then, how much will only then appear great and important; for what surprises of all kinds we must prepare ourselves.

We do not know what Nature, as the cosmos in which we have lived and still live here and now, will be for us then; what the constellations, the sea, the broad valleys and heights, which we see and know now, will say and mean then. We think we know sometimes, when we see the high peaks at dawn or when we hear the certain chord and melodies. But we do not know even then. We ought not to act as if we knew this or that, even in an elementary way, when we are only guessing. That God’s grace is free grace will be impossible for us to overlook at this point, even if we might overlook it elsewhere.

But this much is sure: it is also here, and precisely here it is grace. We know just one thing: that Jesus Christ is the same also in eternity, and that his grace is whole and complete, enduring through time into the new world of God which will exist and be recognized in a totally different way … But we may know this, and we may face what comes “with head held high.” He is our hope.

Message for the Day

Love In Freedom (16)

November 2nd, 2009
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Scripture of the Day: 2Corinthians 3:17-18

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)

An unbreakable bond or unity exists between Christ and Christians in the experience of resurrection. That bond is such that the resurrection of Christians has two components – one that has already taken place, at the inception of Christian life when the sinner is united to Christ by faith; and one that is still future, at Christ’s return.

This present resurrection life of Jesus is transforming us from within.

 We all know and experience a limitation to this freedom, particularly as we get older.

We are waiting for the full freedom of the children of God. We are free now in the Spirit, as the Spirit of Christ imparts his resurrection life to us – Jesus becomes a life giving Spirit – he receives and sends forth the Spirit. But this is within.

We are still waiting for our outward change – our transfiguration in to the bodily likeness of Jesus in his resurrected and glorified humanity. When Jesus was resurrected he received a body that is empowered by the Spirit and which is perfectly submissive and responsive to the Spirit.

Thus our freedom today is within, but outwardly we are perishing.

2Cor 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2Cor 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

2Co r4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

So far as believers are ‘outer man’, that is, in terms of the body, they are yet to be raised. So far as they are ‘inner man’, they are already raised and, he adds, the subject of daily renewal.

A liberating of the mind is taking place in the growth from our struggle with the old nature.

But we are still waiting for the fullness of the glorious freedom of the children of God

Message for the Day