Archive for the ‘Freedom’ Category

December 16th, 2015

There is Now No Condemnation

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (ESV)

Christ changed everything! This sweet truth provides the underlying message of all of Romans, no more clearly communicated than in this climactic statement in the beginning of chapter 8. Paul begins with “therefore,” referencing all the material in the preceding chapters to proudly proclaim that now in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. Of course, under the law, we were all condemned, as it revealed our unworthiness in light of God’s holiness. Now, however, that Christ has given us life instead of death and released us from the law through His perfect obedience, we are freed from condemnation because He was condemned.

Child of God, rejoice, in this truth today! The wrath of God has been satisfied. The fear of death has lost its sting. The bondage to sin that we had in depravity has been eternally loosened, for Christ has set us free. When you and I submit our lives to His Lordship, we are protected eternally, as Paul later points out:

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39 ESV).

Do you live in light of this truth? Do you live as if you are free? Are you filled with the joy that this news rightly demands? Far too many of us continue to live in condemnation of ourselves for failures when Christ has already overcome them. Do not diminish His great gift by living in defeat. Live today in the freedom of Romans 8:1!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Condemnation, Freedom, Romans.
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December 15th, 2015

Do Not Let Sin Reign

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” Romans 6:12 (ESV)

Because of the gospel, we are dead to sin and alive in Christ! As we read yesterday in Romans 1, before Christ we had no freedom in regards to our proclivity to sin as depravity led us toward greater and greater rebellion against God. Yet, in Christ, we have the freedom now to choose to reject sin and move toward greater obedience, finding satisfaction in the Lord and responding joyfully in praise.

If it is true that we have this freedom to finally find true satisfaction, why do we still return to the vanity of our transgression? Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be distracted by things that ultimately have no significance? Further, when we do fall short, why do we feel the need to punish ourselves incessantly, forgetting the propitiatory work of Christ? Paul’s command to us in light of these perennial struggles within Christianity is to stop! He uses an imperative here in the language of the New Testament on purpose. You have the ability in Christ to stop. You can choose to reject sin and move forward in holiness. Further, when you do fail because you have not entered into the perfect yet, do not let sin reign in your mortal body by robbing you of the joy and abundant life secured for you in Christ! Repent of your failure and move forward.

Dear child of God, are you engrossed in perpetual sin? Are you living in guilt and defeat? Do not let sin reign in your mortal body! Claim the promise of Christ; claim the abundant life found in radical obedience to the gospel. You have the freedom to reject sin, so reject it for the promise of greater satisfaction in Jesus.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Depravity, Freedom, Romans.
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December 7th, 2015

My Brother’s Keeper?

“Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” 1 Corinthians 8:13 (ESV)

Christ has set us free from the burden of ritual purity. Yes, we have been called to live pure lives but that purity now comes from that of Christ imputed in us by the Holy Spirit. Our holiness and standing before God, then, is not threatened by the ingestion of created things declared impure by the law. The problem in Paul’s day, however, as see in the Corinthian Church was that some weaker brothers, who had not yet fully grasped the concept of grace, had not arrived at this conclusion and still viewed the eating of food sacrificed to idols as a crisis of conscience, worshiping the deity to which it was sacrificed and falling back into their previous sinful behavior. Paul suggests here that as the more mature believers, we have the responsibility to refrain from a known freedom so that the weaker brother can grow into that knowledge.

How does this apply to us today? Certainly, there are various applications, but the chief concern for us should always be the spiritual growth of our brothers and sisters around us. If we know they struggle with something that we do not struggle with, we should not in spiritual pride throw that temptation in front of their face; rather, we should seek to create safe environments for them in which they can experience in greater ways the ultimately satisfying nature of Christ. Nothing that is free for us to experience is more important than the sanctification of a fellow saved sinner.

Now there is a balance here in that we cannot allow legalism to prevail as it did in the time of Christ. For those who wish to create new rules under the freedom of grace, we must stand firm in remembering the cause of our salvation. Yet, when there is a legitimate concern for a fellow brother or sister on their way to Christ-likeness, may we freely give up our freedom for the sake of their freedom and for the good of the Kingdom.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 7th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Corinthians, Freedom, Sanctification.
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October 30th, 2015

Does the Truth Set You Free?

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32 (ESV)

Do you know the truth of God? He has revealed it to you. The scriptures offer us the complete revelation of God, concerning His character, His covenant, and His plan for all things. As a disciple of Christ, that truth should make you come alive. Simply by reading the Bible you can know the God of the universe more intimately and uniquely. Granted, the truth given to us may not always be easy to read or hear, but we welcome it because we know that in it lies freedom. Freedom is in this truth because of how we are shaped into the image of Jesus as a result of hearing it, thereby enabling us to be more fully satisfied by Him as opposed to the things of this world.

For those who are not children of God, however, the exact opposite is true. While for us, there is a welcome reward to hearing the truth of God, those outside of the family of God are offended, seeing the truth as an obstacle to their freedom rather than a gateway. They see the principles and precepts of scripture as restraints, whereas you and I see them as pathways to greater freedom.

Simply, how you respond to the truth of God spoken over you says a lot about your place as a disciple. If you welcome truth because of how it enables you to be more like Jesus, then take comfort, child of God. If, however, you resist that truth to pursue your own selfish endeavors, you may want to take a moment and see what part of your life you have yet to surrender fully to the Lordship of Christ.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 30th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Freedom, John, Truth.
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July 18th, 2015

Pure and Undefiled Religion

“For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins– you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” Amos 5:12-15 (ESV)

Mankind, in their rebellion of God’s sovereign authority in their lives, generally seek to oppress others around them to gain more power for themselves. The tendency is to elevate oneself by whatever means possible in order to rule as many people as possible, becoming a “god” in his or her own mind. The people of God, however, are called to live differently. Instead of taking advantage of others for our own good, we are called to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others, reflecting the heart of God for all people.

The people of Israel forgot this and began to oppress other members of their holy nation for their own benefit. Yes, there was success in the land, but at what expense? The Lord sends Amos to remind the elite of Israel that He did not release them from bondage from another power in order for them to treat each other with so much disdain. Either the people of God would look like the people of God, or the Lord would bring in the Assyrian armies to humble His people.

We must be careful as the new covenant people of God to not miss the heart of God. God’s heartbeat is for the broken. Jesus Himself stated His purpose in coming was to set those who are oppressed free, not create a new system by which man can continue to oppress other men (Luke 4:18-19). Are you concerned with those who are less fortunate? Or do you use them for your own good? The heart of God in us as His children should demand that we love all people the way He loves them.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Pastor of Mobilization & Young Adults (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, July 18th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Freedom, Isaiah, Jesus.
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July 4th, 2014

Forgiveness and Freedom

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

After speaking to a men’s group on the subject of father wounds, a man in his mid-thirties came up to me to say that he was going immediately to his dad’s house to forgive him. His dad had been pretty tough on him over his lifetime. The son felt that he could never please his dad. It was never enough! His dad always expected more and demanded more and refused to express affirmation. Bitterness had saturated the son’s heart and on this day, he was under deep conviction by the Holy Spirit that it was time to forgive his dad.

Forgiveness brings freedom. When you choose to forgive those who have wounded you or neglected you, there is a tremendous release of tension followed by a refreshing wave of satisfaction. Showing kindness and compassion through forgiving others brings honor to God and relief to your soul. Harboring unforgiveness is like trying to push a parked car up a steep hill. Unforgiveness will shackle your capacity to experience love and will imprison your joy.

God is not asking you to do anything He has not already done for you in Christ. God took the initiative to sacrifice His only Son to pay the penalty of your sin. God chose to forgive you in spite of your rebellion, in spite of your past, and in spite of your proclivity to drift into sin.

Forgive others just as God has forgiven you. Dispense to others the mercy and grace you have freely received from God. Jesus bore your sin on the cross so that you could be forgiven and so that you could have the capacity to forgive others.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, July 4th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Forgiveness, Freedom.
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July 4th, 2013

Freedom in Christ

“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’” John 11:43-44 (NIV)

Death could not prevent Jesus from bringing forth life even to Lazarus, who had been dead four days. As the stench of death permeated the graveyard, Jesus called Lazarus by name to come forth from the dead. As Lazarus came out of the tomb, Jesus commanded them to take the graves clothes off and to let him go.

What is keeping you from walking in the freedom Christ provides? What kind of grave clothes have kept you bound? Release those things which prevent you from walking in the fullness of God’s provision. Let go of those thoughts and attitudes that inhibit the flow of the Holy Spirit in your life. Jesus has paid full price for your freedom. Jesus has called you forth from the dead.

  • “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Eph. 2:1-2 (NIV)
  • “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NIV)

Jesus left heaven and came to earth to dwell among us and ultimately give His life in death upon the cross so that we could know and experience true life. Jesus has removed the obstacles and provided the only way to salvation. Jesus is the way.

Take the grave clothes off and walk in the grace God provides.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 4th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Freedom, Lazarus, Life Changing Experience.
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January 26th, 2013

I Am Set Free

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Rom 8:1-2 (NIV)

Have you ever walked through a season of bondage? In those times, you begin to feel an overwhelming sense of defeat and your view of the future is constricted by the lingering darkness. Sometimes the bondage is connected to trying to persevere through the fangs of health challenges. Sometimes the bondage comes in the form of financial pressure and fear of the future.

One of the tools used by Satan to generate bondage is to get you fixated on your past mistakes. Perhaps you look into the rear view mirror of life and constantly punish yourself for poor decisions made. The enemy will lodge a truckload of guilt your way to seek to immobilize your passion and to paralyze your joy. He thrives in drawing you into his barricade of bondage.

As a child of God, you are not designed for bondage. You are created to know and enjoy the freedom God provides through a saving relationship with Jesus. You are not made for occupying the barrel of bondage. You have been set free from the law of sin and death through Christ Jesus by the activity of the Holy Spirit. The operation of sin and death have no jurisdiction in your life.

Reality #2: In Christ, I am set free.

Identify the strategy Satan uses to slide you into bondage. Ask God to help you identify the enemy’s savvy ploy to pull you off of the freeway of freedom and to empower you to stay above the fray. In Christ, you are set free! You are a child of the living God! No weapon formed against you shall prosper! Enjoy your freedom.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, January 26th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Freedom, Romans, Spirit.
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December 16th, 2012

There is Now No Condemnation!

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (ESV)

Christ changed everything! This sweet truth provides the underlying message of all of Romans, no more clearly communicated than in this climactic statement in the beginning of chapter 8. Paul begins with “therefore,” referencing all the material in the preceding chapters to proudly proclaim that now in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. Of course, under the law, we were all condemned, as it revealed our unworthiness in light of God’s holiness. Now, however, that Christ has given us life instead of death and released us from the law through His perfect obedience, we are freed from condemnation because He was condemned.

Child of God, rejoice, in this truth today! The wrath of God has been satisfied. The fear of death has lost its sting. The bondage to sin that we had in depravity has been eternally loosened, for Christ has set us free. When you and I submit our lives to His Lordship, we are protected eternally, as Paul later points out:

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39 ESV).

Do you live in light of this truth? Do you live as if you are free? Are you filled with the joy that this news rightly demands? Far too many of us continue to live in condemnation of ourselves for failures when Christ has already overcome them. Do not diminish His great gift by living in defeat. Live today in the freedom of Romans 8:1!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 343:  Romans 8-10)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, December 16th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Condemnation, Freedom, Romans.
Interact No Comments
December 15th, 2012

Do Not Let Sin Reign!

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” Romans 6:12 (ESV)

Because of the gospel, we are dead to sin and alive in Christ! As we read yesterday in Romans 1, before Christ we had no freedom in regards to our proclivity to sin as depravity led us toward greater and greater rebellion against God. Yet, in Christ, we have the freedom now to choose to reject sin and move toward greater obedience, finding satisfaction in the Lord and responding joyfully in praise.

If it is true that we have this freedom to finally find true satisfaction, why do we still return to the vanity of our transgression? Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be distracted by things that ultimately have no significance? Further, when we do fall short, why do we feel the need to punish ourselves incessantly, forgetting the propitiatory work of Christ? Paul’s command to us in light of these perennial struggles within Christianity is to stop! He uses an imperative here in the language of the New Testament on purpose. You have the ability in Christ to stop. You can choose to reject sin and move forward in holiness. Further, when you do fail because you have not entered into the perfect yet, do not let sin reign in your mortal body by robbing you of the joy and abundant life secured for you in Christ! Repent of your failure and move forward.

Dear child of God, are you engrossed in perpetual sin? Are you living in guilt and defeat? Do not let sin reign in your mortal body! Claim the promise of Christ; claim the abundant life found in radical obedience to the gospel. You have the freedom to reject sin, so reject it for the promise of greater satisfaction in Jesus.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 342:  Romans 4-7)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, December 15th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Depravity, Freedom, Romans.
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