Updated: Apr 21, 2021
The miracles of Jesus reveal the character and nature of Christ. For example, when he turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana, and when he calmed the storm, Jesus revealed himself as the sovereign Lord over creation. When he brought Lazarus back from the dead, he revealed himself as the almighty God who gives life. When he fed the 5,000, he revealed himself as the compassionate God who provides. But in all of his miracles, he was also pointing forward to the cross and the fulfillment of redemption through his substitutionary death. This is one of the things we're noticing together throughout our series in the miracles of Jesus.
So, as we saw this Sunday, when he healed the man with leprosy (Luke 5:12-15), not only did Jesus reveal himself as the compassionate God who willingly cleanses skin diseases, he also pointed forward to the spiritual cleansing he would provide through the cross, a cleansing that occurs as his innocent blood—through faith—washes away our sin. The healing of the man with leprosy gives us a wonderful picture of the spiritual cleansing Jesus provides in the life of every Christian, which is a portrayal of our redemption itself. In short, the cleansing we saw on Sunday gives us a picture of Christian liberation and freedom.
So, what does this mean for us, today? Here are three things for us to remember about Christian freedom as we follow Jesus in our own day.
Freedom Means You're No Longer a Slave to Sin
To start, when Jesus cleanses us of our unrighteousness and frees us from sin, it means we're no longer slaves to sin.
As Paul indicates: "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin" (Romans 6:6-7). What beautiful words! What glorious encouragement! Jesus has freed us from sin. This means we're no longer slaves to sin. We've been liberated from our deathly master, and he holds no more power over us.
The fact that Jesus has washed away all our sin means death can no longer claim us as his servants. And that's such great news, worthy of jubilant praise to God!
Freedom Means You're No Longer a Slave to the Law
But not only are we freed from the yoke of sin. We're also freed from the yoke of the Old Testament Law.
Consider these words from Paul: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). In context, Paul was talking about returning to the Law, and he was addressing the issue of Judaizing the gospel. He was warning the Christians in Galatia not to fall to legalistic faith. Have you ever been a part of Christian circles that say you have to keep a list of dos and don'ts? Well, that's what Jesus has freed us from!
And that's great encouragement to us! Because it means that our standing with God, our adoption as his daughters and sons, and our eternal wellbeing could never be lost—or gained—as a result of how well we keep a list of dos and don'ts. Isn't it wonderful that our everlasting life comes purely as a result of God's amazing grace and not our own faulty work? (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Freedom Doesn't Mean You're Totally Emancipated
But we have to be careful. Yes, we've been freed from sin. And yes, we've been freed from the yoke of the Law. But this doesn't mean we're fully emancipated so that we could live without any master, at all.
When Jesus purchased our liberation and freedom through his blood, he purchased us to himself. And this is important! It means we're not our own masters to do as we please. It means we're now servants—yes, even slaves— of Christ. Hear Paul's words to the Christians in Corinth: "For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave" (1 Corinthians 7:22). Our freedom from slavery to sin and bondage to the Law means that we're now slaves and servants of Christ. We have a new Master. And what a Master he is! He serves us (Mark 10:45); he gives his life for us (John 3:16); everything he does is for our good (Hebrews 12:10).
So we freely, willfully, and joyfully submit ourselves to his lordship, because he is the most excellent and beautiful of masters. He is the good Shepherd, and we—his sheep—happily listen and obey. "If you love me," Jesus says to us, "keep my commands" (John 14:15). Not because we're trying to earn his approval, but because he's already approved us and cleansed us of all unrighteousness.
Our Christian freedom came at a great cost. Jesus gave his lifeblood for our liberation. And because of his great love, we are no longer crushed by the yoke of burdensome masters. Instead, we're free to live for the glory of our merciful Master. And the more we appreciate his lovingkindness, the more we'll desire to serve and obey him with all gladness.
With Christ's love as your motive, how is Jesus calling you to show your love for him this week? How is he leading you to serve him as a liberated and purchased child of God?