“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Rom. 8:1-2, NLT).
A God of love and justice is the only one who knows how to put the human condition together with the “once and for all” cure. All the brokenness, suffering, anger and cruelty of mankind were placed upon an innocent man at the cross.
If that were the end of the story, it would be tragic and hopeless. But we are a people of great hope because that innocent man was not only human, but also God. He submitted to the cross, and He took captivity captive through the power of the life-giving Spirit as He went from death to life. Romans 8:1-17 describes this good news, the foundation of our faith, that we live and speak every day.
So what does this mean to the church, God’s mission agency to the world? The church is to be the “freedom home” where people find their resurrection hope. “Christ in [us], the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27, NKJV) to help captive people find their freedom road.
Hope for Christians is not wishful thinking or blind optimism. It is a mode of knowing—a mode within which new things are possible, options are not shut down, and new creation can happen. Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible; freedom is available.
Freedom and joy go hand in hand, as joy is the outward expression of an inward reality. Are we living joy-filled lives even in the midst of suffering and disappointment? Romans 8 is clear that, when the Spirit is at the command center of our lives, we are no longer slaves to sin. The freedom story causes joy to erupt no matter the outward circumstances.
Brian Johnson and friends, no doubt inspired by this passage, wrote it beautifully in “No Longer Slaves”1:
You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins
You split the sea, so I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me, so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God
Our prayer for you this Easter season:
- That you are personally walking out the freedom wherewith you have been made free, and the accompanying joy is abounding no matter your circumstances
- That every person who encounters your church will experience resurrection hope and pass it on to every person they meet
- That your community is impacted with the gospel as the Creator gives you creative ways to live and share the Good News
1Written by Brian Johnson, Jonathan David Helser, Joel Case. ©2014 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
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