Recently a beloved friend sent me a Tee shirt that says “FREEDOM”, “If you are free, live like it”.  I’m wearing that shirt right now.  It’s one thing to get free, but it’s another thing altogether to keep that freedom and STAY FREE.  Let’s look into that today.

In John chapter 8, Jesus was speaking to the Jews who were listening to him:
Joh 8:29  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Joh 8:30  As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 8:33  They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Joh 8:34  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Joh 8:35  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Obviously, Jesus wasn’t speaking here of political freedom, but freedom from sin.  You see, if you’re a slave of sin, no matter where you live or how much money you have, you will never be free.  Oh, you may THINK you’re free, but you aren’t.  These people Jesus was talking to were missing the whole point, thinking He was referring to their lineage from Abraham.  Jesus made it real clear when He said in verse 34, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

So, how do you get free from sin?  There is only ONE way.  Some people teach there are many ways to be free, but they are deceived and know not that they themselves are still in bondage.  Jesus summed it up by saying, If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

It’s a wonderful thing when you experience the LORD’S forgiveness of your sins and you are given your freedom from your sin debt. But THEN what?  Is there life after forgiveness?  Is your freedom automatically permanent?  Or do you have a part in STAYING free?  Stay tuned for this exciting word from my Sponsor…..In order to stay free you must stay in Christ Jesus. See this?  Let me show you again:

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Even as freedom is a state or condition that has a beginning and an end, CONTINUING in your relationship with Christ Jesus requires continuous action on your part.  Jesus said He would never leave or forsake you, so that means if anyone is going to do the “forsaking”, then it will be YOU and not HIM.  What I’m saying here is, if you want to STAY free, then it will take some action on YOUR part, for Christ Jesus has already set you free the moment you asked Him to forgive your sins.  But it doesn’t end there, although many act like it does.

Salvation is a process.  That means it is continuously happening.  Just like a marriage, it doesn’t end when you say “I DO”.  Actually, that’s just the beginning, and if you want that marriage to work, you must CONTINUOUSLY work on it, paying close attention to nourish it at all times.  Of course there are those who have been married many years, but it isn’t really marriage, but rather “existing together” or “tolerating one another”.  The “spark” that ignited the flames of love have long since gone out, and when I see that it makes me very sad to see two lives being wasted.  They COULD have a vital and exciting and loving marriage, but like a fire in your fireplace, unless you keep adding logs to the fire, it will burn out.  There’s nothing fun about getting up on a very cold morning, thinking there’s a nice roaring fire going in the fireplace, but nobody bothered to put wood on the fire before going to bed, and now it’s gone out and you can see your breath in the room.  And there’s nothing sadder to me than seeing someone who WAS on fire for the LORD, but they let the fire go out due to neglect.

If that’s you, take it, it’s word for you and it’s free, and I’m not talking about the fireplace.  You see, Christ Jesus paid a horribly high price to buy your freedom.  You have not a clue the agony He suffered for you.  A tidy picture of Jesus on the cross with a drop of blood on each hand and a couple drops of blood on His forehead from the crown of thorns, and a drop of blood from the nail in His feet and where they pierced His side with a spear is insultingly inadequate to portray His agony that He went through to buy YOUR freedom.  And you think a couple minutes spent praying when you have nothing better to do is MAINTAINING your relationship with Him?  That’s the most absurd thing I ever heard.  Dropping by once a week to say Hi to your husband or wife certainly wouldn’t result in a loving marriage, would it?  Well, how do you think the Lord Jesus feels about getting our warmed-over left overs?

Do you see how easy it is to lose the freedom Christ Jesus bought for you?  We so easily get caught up in “life”, maybe realizing we SHOULD spend more time with the LORD, but somehow, other “stuff” gets in the way, and it’s usually the blessings that the LORD has lovingly given us in response to our “GIVE ME……” prayers.   The LORD has no problem with you having lots of nice stuff.  But He DOES have a problem with lots of nice stuff having YOU.  He wants time with you every day.  If you have hope of maintaining the freedom you have in Christ Jesus, you will have to ABIDE in Him.  Abiding takes time you know, time that you’re spending doing something “else” instead of with Him.  Abiding with Him keeps you free, and so if you want to stay free, then you need to recognize that an occasional “visit” with the LORD is not enough to keep you free.

If you buy a new car, you can get away with just driving it for a while, but sooner or later it will need to be maintained, else it starts falling apart, and you’re wondering why it no longer smells new, or runs like new.  One day you come out and see a puddle of fluid under the car and wonder why it’s gone bad already, after all, you’ve driven it every day, isn’t that enough?  No, it needs regular care to continue to do what it was made to do. Many are good at driving a car till it drops.  Remember the old saying, “Pay me now or pay me later”?  There is a high price to be paid for delayed maintenance on a car.  You can spend a little now and keep it running in top shape, or you can spend a whole bunch later to revive it from major neglect.  Many just trade it off and walk away.

Well, if you carefully study the Old Testament, you’ll readily see how Israel, God’s chosen people keep falling into the same routine, as do today’s Christians as well.  God blesses His children. They become “fat and happy”, and all their needs are met.  They start neglecting to maintain their relationship with God, and after a while, things start going badly for them.  Rather than ABIDING with God with their whole heart and STAYING FREE, they gradually just walk away from Him, squeezing Him out of their daily life.  It doesn’t happen overnight, but a little here, a little there.  And then one day they realize they don’t really even have the LORD in their thoughts anymore.

The devil starts moving into their life, bag and baggage, and things are as bad or worse than they were before they found the LORD.  They fall into captivity to sin.  They live broken down and hurting in captivity, until finally they realize the need to ask for His forgiveness, and He so  graciously forgives them, and the cycle starts all over again.   Friends, I’ve seen this same thing over and over and over again in the Old Testament, and it plays out EXACTLY the same way yet today, don’t we ever learn??????

Like I said earlier, getting free is one thing, but staying free is another thing altogether.  We have a choice, folks, we can look at the past and learn from it, or we are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over.

I’ve seen people healed from horrible diseases because they cried out to God, and He gave them mercy and set them free, because He is LOVE.  All goes well for a while but many start to go back to their “old life” instead of using their newfound life to pursue a relationship to God.  Gradually, their freedom is lost to their old way of doing things, old attitudes, old actions, old way of thinking, old ways of speaking.  And it all comes back like it was before.  But it didn’t have to be that way.
Read this in 2 Corinthians 5:

2Co 5:15  And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
2Co 5:16  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2Co 5:18  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2Co 5:20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2Co 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The Lord Jesus said in John 10:10, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Do you see here that “life” is a “continuing action”?  In order for the life of God to “continue” in you, then you must “abide” in Him.  Otherwise, you have no hope of staying free, even though Christ Jesus died and rose again to MAKE you free.  Examine your walk with Jesus today. Are you just giving your relationship with Him enough maintenance to “get by”?  or are you living the “life more abundantly” that is available to you? Judge for yourself, I’m not pointing a finger at anyone, but rather pointing to the WORD.  If you find an adjustment is needed, then by all means, DO IT!  If you’re not free right now, the Lord Jesus will make you free, but staying free is up to YOU!