Miyerkules, Disyembre 17, 2014

To Be Free

To Be Free

EMANCIPATION FROM THE bondage of poverty, slavery, and oppression is the elusive dream of the poor, the captive, and the oppressed.  Anything that could give them their freedom is good news.  Indeed, there is good news for them and the Bible introduces the bearer of that good news:
     “Then Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath he went as usual to the synagogue. He stood up to read the Scriptures and was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people. ” (Lk. 4:16-19, Today’s English Version)
     The Lord Jesus Christ bears the good news to the poor.  While the poor needs food to eat, what kind of food does he offer them?  Jesus tells us:
     “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (Jn. 6:27, New International Version)
     The food Christ offers is not the kind of food that spoils but that which endures to eternal life.  He clarifies what this is:
     “… It is written,  ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’.” (Mt. 4:4, New King James Version)
     The word of God is food for the soul.  This food endures to eternal life.  Thus, even if one is poor by human standards, he can still be rich before God.  He can be rich in faith, which is more important than being rich in material things.  Apostle James says:
     “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (Js. 2:5, NIV)
     The Bible also speaks of people who are materially rich yet truly poor:
     “You say, 'I am rich and well off; I have all I need.' But you do not know how miserable and pitiful you are! You are poor, naked, and blind.” (Rev. 3:17, TEV)
     One can be rich materially but poor in the eyes of God.  In what sense could the rich in earthly possessions be poor?  Prophet Jeremiah states:
     “Therefore I said, “Surely these are poor.They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the Lord,
The judgment of their God.” (Jer. 5:4, NKJV)
     Those who are ignorant of the ways of the Lord and His judgment, though may be rich in material possessions, are poor.  They are poor in the knowledge of God’s words.  These people should be freed from the bondage of their “poverty.”

Emancipation from slavery
     Christ said He was sent to liberate the captives and set free the oppressed.  In his letter to the Romans, Apostle Paul explained who these captives are:
     “When you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.” (Rom. 6:20, TEV)
     Sin has enslaved the people of this world.  According to the bible, all men have sinned (Rom. 5:12) and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), the second death in the lake of fire on the day of Judgment (Rev. 20:14).  This is what divine justice requires.  Thus, man should be freed from the consequences of sin.  Failure to be liberated from this captivity would mean eternal punishment, which is the curse of the law.
     But who alone can redeem man from the curse of the law?  Galatians 3:13 gives us this answer:
     “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.' ” (NIV)
     Man’s redemption from the bondage of sin is to be found in Christ.  He gave up His life and shed His precious blood to redeem man from the bondage:
     “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (I Pt. 1:18-19, NKJV)
     To be saved from the punishment, which is the consequences of sin, one should be redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.  But which was redeemed with the blood of Jesus Christ?  The Church of Christ was redeemed from the bondage of sin:
     “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)
     Those in the Church of Christ have been freed from the curse of the law and will be saved from punishment.  Outside the Church of Christ, man will remain a slave of sin and subject to the curse of the law. 

The true liberation
     To be redeemed with the blood of Christ is indeed good news to the poor.  Why?  The Book of Proverbs states:
     “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. The ransom of a man's life is his wealth, but a poor man has no means of redemption. ” (Prov. 13:7-8, Revised Standard Version)
     The ransom of man’s life or his redemption is his true wealth.
     A rich man whose life has not been ransomed will find everything worthless.  But a poor man who has been redeemed, though deprived of material possessions, is truly rich before God.   He has salvation which material wealth cannot provide.  The Book of Zephaniah records how man’s riches will be rendered futile on the day of Judgment:
     “Neither their silver nor their gold
    will be able to save them
    on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”
In the fire of his jealousy
    the whole earth will be consumed,
for he will make a sudden end
    of all who live on the earth.” (Zeph. 1:18, NIV)
     Man’s riches cannot save him from eternal punishment.  His wealth will perish with him.  The only way for him to be saved is to be redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ through the Church of Christ.  This is what our Lord Jesus Christ said to those who want to be saved:
     “I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be saved.” (Jn. 10:9, Revised English Bible)
     The sheepfold or flock is the Church of Christ (Acts, 20:28, Lamsa Translation).
     When will the members of the Church of Christ attain salvation?  When will they be redeemed from all their worries and problems in this life?  The epistle to the Hebrews states:
     “In the same manner Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for him.” (Heb. 9:28, TEV)
     On His Second Advent, our Lord Jesus Christ will save those for whom He offered and sacrificed His life.  He will save the members of His Church.  This liberation through our Lord Jesus Christ is the Good News for all mankind.

Pamphlets/Pasugo God’s Message/April 2001/Pages 21-22

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