Jesus Performed Your Religious Freedom & Restoration Act
Jesus already performed your religious freedom and restoration act. How?
1. Religious Freedom
Galatians 5:1 “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
It is mankind’s natural inclination to put ourselves or others under law; self-imposed or governed. Religious people do it, non-religious people do it, evil people do it, normal people too. Deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong is at the heart of “the fall.” We want to be “like God knowing good and evil,” or rather decide for ourselves what is good or evil. This epidemic of the soul has led to all kinds of injustice throughout history. You don’t need me to list examples. Whatever your perception of injustice throughout history is counts for the simple fact that we all recognize that injustice exists and has been done.To set us free, Jesus Christ experienced the greatest injustice the world has ever known. Despite always doing what was right according to the heart of the law, he was put to death as a criminal. His crime? Claiming to be God. What incited the religious leaders to put him on trial? His challenging of their man-made religious laws. Their power, that came from controlling people through religious law, was crumbling at its foundation through the self-denying actions of the God they claimed to be serving and worshipping. They loved their law so much they couldn’t recognize their law-giver perfectly fulfilling it as they looked on in judgemental envy.See, the law’s power is limited to making us increasingly more aware of our imperfection, or causing us to judge our ability to perform it properly by comparing ourselves to others. Are you beginning to recognize the slippery slope of power-hungry, burdensome, judgemental ugliness that creates? Jesus defeated the power of sin, death and the law through His resurrection from the dead! Now, when we put our faith in Him, rather than our own ability to be “good enough,” His perfection is attributed to us, thereby bestowing on us true religious freedom! It is so freeing to know that my acceptance before a holy and righteous God is based solely on the completed work of Christ and not on the current work of me.
1 Peter 5:10-11 “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
For something to be restored it needs to have lost its former glory in some way. In a sense it has been broken and needs to be repaired. It is clear that our world is broken and has lost its former glory. We get that sense when we’re confronted with what Martin Luther King referred to as this “eternal oughtness”. The world is just not as it ought to be and we all recognize that.Mankind used to be in a perfect, holy, satisfying, and right relationship with God. Everything was good...how it ought to be. We lost that. It broke when we used our free will to reject God and chose to decide for ourselves what is good and evil. Clearly we haven’t done as good of a job as we’d hoped. We have caused the world and ourselves to need to be restored.However, as soon as we chose self-rule God already set His plan into motion to restore us into right relationship with Him again. He promised to send a Savior who would crush the power of sin. He graciously gave us the law to show us our inability to be perfect and our need for that Savior. Jesus, the promised Savior, emptied Himself of His glory, entered our brokenness and became a man in order to live the perfect life that we couldn’t live. He paid our ransom through His death and resurrection to set us free from our slavery to sin. And now, through faith in Jesus, an eternally good relationship with our holy and righteous God can be restored! We no longer have to be children of wrath due to our sin, but we can be God’s own children. When we put our trust in Jesus to save us, God the Father no longer sees our sin but Jesus’ righteousness instead, and that perfect, holy, satisfying and right relationship with God is restored to how it ought to be. How comforting it is to know that the God of all grace, not my performance, will restore me!
3. Already, But Not Yet
1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now I see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
I know. We still struggle with Christians placing religious burdens on others and vice versa in order to gain power. We often don’t feel free in our religious efforts. We often feel judged. We are often the very ones judging or placing religious burdens on ourselves or others!I know. Even as Christians we still feel as though God is far away sometimes. We struggle with sin and feel like our relationship with God is still broken and not restored.When we struggle with how we feel we need to be reminded of what is true. How we feel often seems more trustworthy than transcendent spiritual truth, but our feelings can not anchor our souls. When feeling bound or broken, turn to God’s Word. It is there that we find sure footing in this unstable world as we set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1).Dear Christian, you are truly free. You are already restored. You are completely covered by God’s grace. God’s Word confirms it. We might not always see it or feel it, but soon we will. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!Dear non-Christian, you are not yet free. You are still under law, either self-imposed or otherwise. You have not yet been restored. You are still broken. Jesus went through hell in order to save you. Will you accept His religious freedom and restoration act on your behalf?