Definition: The quality of spiritual and personal freedom to live without being bound by sin.
John 8:36 NIV: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Romans 6:1-23 CEV—Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
(Read the passage slowly a couple of times, taking note of parts that stand out to you personally, and re-read these parts again prayerfully, asking God to speak to you. With whom do you identify in this passage and what message do you sense God has for you? Take time to pray and then re-read the passage, repeating this pattern over and over thoughtfully. Take these thoughts with you throughout the day(s) and look for God at work in you. A more detailed description of this is provided in the introduction of this journal.)
“What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God’s wonderful kindness will show up even better? No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning? Don’t you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptized also share in his death? When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.
If we shared in Jesus’ death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him. We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin. We know that sin doesn’t have power over dead people.
As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. We know that death no longer has any power over Christ. He died and was raised to life, never again to die. When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God. In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God.
Don’t let sin rule your body. After all, your body is bound to die, so don’t obey its desires or let any part of it become a slave of evil. Give yourselves to God, as people who have been raised from death to life. Make every part of your body a slave that pleases God. Don’t let sin keep ruling your lives. You are ruled by God’s kindness and not by the Law.
What does all this mean? Does it mean we are free to sin, because we are ruled by God’s wonderful kindness and not by the Law? Certainly not! Don’t you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die, or you can be obedient slaves of God and be acceptable to him. You used to be slaves of sin. But I thank God that with all your heart you obeyed the teaching you received from me. Now you are set free from sin and are slaves who please God.
I am using these everyday examples, because in some ways you are still weak. You used to let the different parts of your body be slaves of your evil thoughts. But now you must make every part of your body serve God, so that you will belong completely to him.
When you were slaves of sin, you didn’t have to please God. But what good did you receive from the things you did? All you have to show for them is your shame, and they lead to death. Now you have been set free from sin, and you are God’s slaves. This will make you holy and will lead you to eternal life. Sin pays off with death. But God’s gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Consider the Text
(You don’t have to do all the questions. Pick what resonates with you.)
1. As you read this passage, what parts stood out to you?
2. How does being baptized with Christ relate to your sin?
3. Describe the difference between your “old self” and living alive to God in Christ?
4. The passage says you are still weak, but you are to make every part of you serve God. How do you see this play out in your life?
5. How does letting Christ living in you give you increased power over sin?
6. How does the concept of being a slave to righteousness help you to overcome sin?
7. Describe freedom.
8. How does giving yourself to God bring freedom?
9. Describe the difference between being a slave to sin and a slave to God.
10. Our world says freedom is doing whatever we want. How does being a slave to God bring real freedom?
Journal My Response
1. What are some specific habits that could be surrendered to Christ?
2. How can I pray differently regarding habits in my life after meditating on this scripture?
3. What signs of growth have I seen in my own life in relation to freedom from sin?
4. How do the other themes (gratitude, joy, and hope) assist freedom?
5. Think of a time when God helped you build your trust in Him and His words—and found freedom as a result. What can you learn from this?
6. What people currently support me in being set free from sin? Who are some additional people that can help me?
7. Are there people and places that hinder my freedom from sin?
8. Are there specific areas that I am burdened by guilt or resentment? (Take a moment to thank Jesus for dying to set you free from the penalty of sin.)
9. Do I forget that I can go directly to God at any time and for any reason? Some specific ways that I can take advantage of that access when I face temptation are …
10. How can I lean more on the power of Christ to say “no” to things that are destructive?
11. Have I been driven by the pressure of others? How does living for an audience of One bring freedom from this pressure?
12. God, I choose to allow You to live more fully in me regarding…
- Book: The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson
- Book: Living Free in Christ, by Neil T. Anderson (Call No. 234.2)
- Book: Guilt Free Living, by Robert Jeffress (Call No. 248.46)
- Book: Enjoy Your Freedom, by Warren Wiersbe (Call No. 248.46)
- Song: We Are The Free, by Matt Redman (see video on our blog)
- Song: No Chains On Me, by Chris Tomlin (see video on our blog)
- Program: Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered recovery program for all life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups. For info, go to http://www.lincolnroadchapel.ca and select Programs
- Counselling: Shalom Counselling Services (519-886-9690)
For this story, you’ll need 2 older family members to take turns reading. Enjoy!
A Freedom Story
One day, a farmer planted a seed….
Throughout his life, Manny’s Mom, Dad and others he knew and loved shared with him some incredible news: the Creator of the whole universe loved Manny more than he could imagine!
The soil in which the farmer planted the seed was good soil: loose, light, and rich in nutrients.
Manny wondered constantly about God. Deep down, he really wanted to know God. He believed what he had heard: that God wanted to reach down to be his friend—that God had sent His Son, Jesus, to live, die and rise again to make a way for this to happen…
The rains were light that year, showering the soil and keeping it moist…
Manny began to notice God’s gentle presence with him, when he was playing, doing schoolwork, walking home, or worshipping with friends at church.
The seed began to change. Part of it broke away, withered and began to decompose, and the other part grew into a tiny sprout…
Manny didn’t want to be the way he was before. Instead, he found he wanted to know more about God, and copy Jesus in every way that he could…
Sunlight warmed the soil where the sprout lay…
When Manny heard and imagined Bible stories, and when he tried hard to understand what Jesus and his friends were teaching, he found new thoughts rolling through his mind. He thought about the kind of person he wanted to be, and sometimes he didn’t even notice that his new thoughts were helping him to make wise choices.
After each rain, water coursed through the soil, watering the tiny sprout.
The thing Manny loved most was knowing that God was with him all the time. He loved to talk to God, but would also feel like God was “listening” when he rode his bike, played the drums, built model airplanes and glued pictures into his journal. Manny had so many new thoughts throughout the day that he was pretty sure God was “speaking” to him too.
The little sprout grew into a healthy seedling.
Manny was following Jesus.
The seedling’s roots hungrily absorbed water and nutrients from the rich soil.
The closer Manny felt to his new friend, Jesus, and the more he learned about God, the closer he wanted to be, and the more he wanted to know.
The seedling soon became a sapling, and through many seasons, grew into a strong and widespread tree.
Manny followed Jesus, no matter what. Mistakes, teasing, discouragement and all the many things he didn’t understand only helped him to love Jesus more.
With help from bees and other insects, the tree was pollinated, and began to bloom.
Manny was too young to realize that he could not have done it without the encouragement of his parents, his friends and the kindness of many leaders.
Finally, after many years of growing new, thick branches, the tree began to bear fruit.
Each day, the Holy Spirit, Manny’s constant companion, showed him what was true and made sure that Manny had many chances to show how much he had grown to be like Jesus. He was now free to love, to experience joy and peace, to be patient, kind, good, faithful and gentle. Free to be…like Jesus.
As he grew older, Manny began to understand all that he had been saved from. Where he may have hated someone who hurt him, felt lost when something bad happened, worried constantly about what might happen, felt sure that he was better than others, put himself first, been unkind, hurt his friends and family with words or choices, or done whatever he wanted, instead he was enjoying the “fruit of the Spirit”!
But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. (Galatians 5:22-23, NIrV)
What’s on your branches? Do you see signs of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness? Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?
Look for the fruit. Enjoy the freedom!
To grow your own apple tree from seeds, check out http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-an-Apple-Tree-from-a-Seed.