|Salvation by Grace Alone|
Primitive Monitor--August 1912
GOSPEL FREEDOM ...
"If the Son, therefore, make you free, ye shall be free indeed;" John viii, 36.
They were in bondage, but they knew it not. They were the "servants of sin," willing, unconscious servants. So are all sinners ignorant of their bondage to sin. Sin is a disease, but the patient loves the disease. The strength of the disease lies much in the fact that the sinner loves it and hates the cure, yet it is a real bondage and "reigns unto death." It reigns like a mighty tyrant. Though the chains are strong they are agreeable and sweet to the sinner. We, who have been made free, remember that we were alive, and living, too, while we were in bondage. "If the Son * * * shall make you free." These words denote that none but the Son can make free from sin. If we are not rescued by him we will never be rescued by any one. No man, nor yet all men together, can make one sinner free from sin; let them all unite and try as they will and they cannot deliver one sinner from the power of sin. From this fact Christ is precious. He can make "free indeed" that is, fully, perfectly, and eternally. It is not a temporary freedom or a partial freedom, but it is an everlasting freedom when it is completed. "The servant abideth not in the house forever, but the son abideth "ever." A servant of sin may have a place in the house temporarily, even in the church, but he is not the heir and will be rejected in the end and the son will remain "ever." There is a liberty that comes to us in regeneration, but Paul speaks of the "glorious liberty of the children of God." This is "free indeed." "Glorious liberty" implies a liberty besides this-a liberty with no pain, no chain, no temptation, no inward motion of sin, no cry of "O wretched man that I am!" no death or tears. This is the completed and glorious liberty of the children of God to which we hasten, a liberty begun on earth, but completed in heaven; begun here and completed hereafter. The new creature itself shall be delivered from this bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Then we shall be "free indeed."
In some respects we feel hemmed in and in bondage. We are not favored with liberty at all times in the pulpit; we are not able to draw near to the Lord in prayer and we find ourselves burdened with the flesh and its corruptions. We are free now, perfectly free from the curse of the law. "There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ," so we are now and forever free from the curse of the law. Those in heaven are not safer from the curse of the law than the tried children of God on earth, but they are now enjoying "the glorious liberty of the children of God."
By "free indeed," is not meant that we are exempt from duty as citizens or that we are free from obligation to love and serve one another. It is not meant that we are free from duty to love our neighbor as ourselves; we are yet in duty bound to do right or keep the moral law. A sense of this duty is in every true Christian, but we do not keep the law in order to be saved. "The law sends us to Christ for justification, and Christ sends us to the law for regulation."
We are not made free from temptation, but while on earth we will be exposed to it; and we are not free from the motions of sin; we realize that we are poor sinners as long as we live. We are distressed about our sin. There is a difference grace makes in men; once we could sin all day and sleep soundly all night; "sin reigned" then, but now we are troubled about sin: even the neglect of our church brings trouble. Sin does not reign without opposition within us-once it did.
We are not freed from death, and we are subject to diseases as other men are, and through fear of death we are all our lifetime subject to bondage. We are like pilgrims in a strange land; we are going home; we are in an enemy's land, but we are going home where we shall be "free indeed." We are redeemed from the curse of the law, and "if we sin we have an advocate with the Father," who has engaged to "bring his many sons unto glory." Job was tried, but his life was free from death. We may be annoyed, but we cannot be destroyed. We are servants of God, but it is a free service, not with a legal bias, but as children and from love-a loving service. We do not one thing to secure eternal life or eternal salvation. We are free from all fear of hell or future punishment. While we dread the gloom of death and the grave, we do not dread the torments of hell. We are "free indeed" in this respect. We are free from debt, free from the curse of the law; our service is no longer a legal service. The law was once our husband (Romans vii 14). "We are free from the law" and are wedded to Christ, who will supply all our, wants. He will provide a way of escape from all our temptations. "We are kept by the power of God," and will at last reach home, where all our sorrows and trials will be at an end. What immense gratitude we owe the Lord for all his mercies received and yet in store!
by Elder J. J. Oliphant
Submitted by Elder David Montgomery
|Salvation by Grace Alone|