Monday, July 4, 2022

Free Indeed

One of the highlights of summer in the USA is the celebration of Independence Day. From 1776 until the present day, Independence Day has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. Although the United States celebrates Independence Day as a day of freedom from Great Britain's oppression, there is a freedom that is far superior, far greater than any freedom that man can provide. This freedom only comes as one confesses with the mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as Savior.

It has been said, "To be born free is a privilege; to die free is an awesome responsibility," yet freedom is never free. It always and only comes at great price. The greatest price ever paid for freedom, was paid at Calvary nearly two thousand years ago by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. So, let's take a moment and look at some of the events that took place to purchase mans true freedom. We begin in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is arrested and taken down to the hall of Caiaphas the High Priest. He is then blindfolded and spit upon, insulted and struck in the presence of the very High Priest of God, and then you witness the long, cold, weary hours until He is taken before Pilate and then eventually to Herod to be mocked and jeered, to be clothed with the mock garment of kingly authority, a mock crown of thorns placed upon His brow, the mock badge of kingly authority placed within His hand, and then the long weary march back to Pilate, where He faces the trial, proceeding with bitterness and jealousy.

We then find Jesus standing calm and quiet with no part in this unnatural scene, except that of the innocent victim of jealousy and hate. We see Him scourged, His back laid open by the awful Roman lictor. Blood flows, and flesh is torn as the cruel blows fall mercilessly upon His bare back. Then His clothes are thrown roughly about Him, and He is started out for Golgotha, staggering beneath His cross. We see Him fall under its weight, and Simon of Cyrene is compelled to bear it. Then we see Him staggering up the mountain side, surrounded by soldiers. He is laid roughly down upon the cross on His back, and the Roman soldiers with cruel hate drive the spikes into His hands and feet; then He is lifted up naked, and the cross is dropped into the socket in the rock. Jesus of Nazareth is crucified!

We watch the mob as it surges backward and forward about the cross. We hear the High Priest hurling his bitter taunts at Jesus, as He suffers unmercifully nailed to the cross suspended between heaven and earth. We hear the mob in their bitter denunciation, led on by their religious leaders, the very priesthood that was looking for their Messiah. It was a hideous and horrific thing that was taking place. The Son of God hanging on the cross was not a sight for angels, nor for men, but for demons only.

However, the vision I want you to have is not of the physical suffering of Jesus, not what man has done as that is only a means to an end, but come behind the scenes and see the agony of the Son of God, and see Him smitten by God, His Father. The Apostle Peter tells us on the day of Pentecost that He was delivered up by the determinate counsel and the foreknowledge of God. (Acts 2:23) It is here that we see Father God taking our sin nature and spiritual death, and placing it all upon Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus has taken man's place, and the whole human race is now represented in Him, as He hangs there under judgment on the accursed tree. God takes your sin and mine, yes, the sin of the whole world and lets it fall upon His Son and as God turns His back to Him, He cries out, "My God, Mu God why have you forsaken Me." (Matthew 27:46) Not only did Jesus go to the cross to acquire mans freedom, but also descend into hell itself to pay the penalty of Man's high treason. He took upon Himself the awful guilt to pay man's penalty, because God could not, nor would not pardon man until an adequate sacrifice had been made. (Romans 3:21-26)

He died as Jesus our Substitute, the Lamb of God who bore the sin of the world. But Peter tells us, (quoting David) "For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption." (Acts 2:27) After three days and nights in hell, Jesus arose as Lord, as Master of death, of hell and of the grave. He speaks to the Apostle John, "I was dead and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Hades and of Death." (Revelation 1:18) The matchless, mighty Christ had gone into the strong mans house and plundered his house and his goods. (Matthew 12:29; Luke 11:21-22) He had conquered Satan completely in honorable combat; He had taken from him his authority, his dominion; He brings it back and offers it to fallen man through His matchless name and grace.

What does this mean to us? It means that every person who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and takes Him as his Savior, stands legally acquitted in the presence of God. It means Satan is defeated, and man can be free. This is independence, this is freedom and there is no other freedom from the foundations of the world that has or will ever surpass the freedom the our Heavenly Father has provided for all men through Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16-17) PTL...

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