Free or Slave?

“Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. He gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death—death on a cross.” --Philippians 2:6-8 NCV

The self-denial of Jesus that led Him to the cross which secured our salvation also silenced the accuser that started the whole problem of evil in our universe with His lies about God (See John 8:44): “The victory gained at His death on Calvary broke forever the accusing power of Satan over the universe and silenced his charges that self-denial was impossible with God and therefore not essential in the human family.” -Selected Messages Book 1 p. 341 

Apparently, Satan had argued that God’s image-bearers--human beings, didn’t have an image to reflect in practicing self-denial. God, Himself wasn’t self-denying according to Satan! But when God came to our world in the person of Jesus Christ unselfishly, and lived unselfishly every moment of His life and then willingly gave up the hope of a future life at the cross it is evident that God is definitely self-denying! 

Notice in the context of Philippians 2 how Paul applies this truth. Christ’s self-denial is the pattern for our life: “Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. In other words, adopt the mindset of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts.” --Philippians 2:4, 5 The Voice Translation

We prize our freedom. We resent being forced to do anything. And thanks be to God--He doesn’t use force in His government. Unfortunately, in our natural perception of freedom, we run the risk of considering the most cruel bondage actually to be freedom: “Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery.” --The Desire of Ages p. 466 

Freedom is available but there is only one way to find it!  “The only condition upon which the freedom of man is possible is that of becoming one with Christ.” Ibid. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5 NKJV. Here it is another way from the letter to the Galatians. This is what it means to be free! “My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love."--Easy to Read Version

Pastor Mike

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