We often pride ourselves on our independence. We may “belong” to a family, to an organization, or to a church, but we hold on to our independence as human beings with a righteous grip. However, the book of Acts describes how the Apostles, and later, the early church boldly told the world God’s good news. And what surprising news it was. These preachers claimed that God called them, God loved them, and God had bought and paid for them! That message did not resonate with some first century listeners any better than it does for some today.
From the beginning, God chose to reclaim his creation. He chose that all people should come to salvation, because he loves humanity. Even a cursory look at the Old Testament reveals God’s call. In almost every story and every prophecy we see God’s promise to save as well as his mercy over his chosen nation, and he even made a away for those who were not sons of Abraham. God was patient and he kept calling through patriarchs, kings, judges, and prophets.
After the resurrection, God made a new covenant, which Peter announced on the Day of Pentecost, and from that day on, the “chosen” were not just Abraham’s descendants, but all peoples, tribes, and nations. Because God loved humanity, he bought and paid for all people with Jesus’ blood, and he chose to give the free gift of salvation to those who make him Lord of their lives. He owns us so now we can be free.
How can we be free if someone owns us? Human thinking is always small thinking. From a human, worldly viewpoint, we cannot be free if someone own us. What we forget or ignore is that outside of Christ we have an owner, and that owner enslaves us. We are bound to earthly passions, and sinful ways. Our independent streak takes us farther from God and the deeper into Satan’s clutches. Only when we answer God’s call and respond to his love can we be free.
What kind of freedom do we have if we are slaves of Christ? We are free of guilt. We are free from fear. We are free of the wages of sin. We are free of eternal punishment. We are free to be what God created us to be. We are free to experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We are free to soar like eagles, to know what it feels like to help someone else break free from death and destruction. We are free to know peace and contentment even in the hard times.
When we understand God’s love, when we hear his call, and when we comprehend the price God paid for our souls, we will be free indeed. In addition, with freedom in Christ comes the boldness to tell others how they too can be bought and paid for by the One who sets all men free.
“And now, Lord, …. grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness” Acts 4:29
Continue the study of Acts 1-4 in Going Deeper–Bought and Paid For
Meditate on these thoughts from Hebrews.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:11-14
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:24-28