Even as Christians, we are still an imperfect people. We make mistakes.

  • Sometimes, the mistakes are unknowing or unintentional: we didn’t know what we were doing at the time. We were just plain ignorant.
  • Sometimes, the mistakes are a weakness of the flesh. While we have the best of intentions and spiritual desires, we were caught off guard in a temptation and, in a moment of weakness or passion, we gave in to sin. Afterwards, we really grieve over what happened, we condemn ourselves for it, because we knew better. We lament and regret our weakness.

Sometimes, however, the mistakes are willful and knowledgeable. We knew what we were doing. And we did it willfully and deliberately because we wanted to do it. We were, at that point, willfully rebelling against God’s law. We did what we wanted to do. And we didn’t care what anyone—including God—said about it. We sinned because we wanted to sin!


We don’t like hearing it and we don’t want to hear it. So let me say it once again. Sin has consequences. It brings us suffering. And the root cause of this sin and suffering is a selfish, self-willed, stubborn, rebellious, desire to do something we know is wrong and displeasing to God. It is this sinful desire that the Lord wants us to get  rid of.

Unfortunately, we’re not going to get rid of this sinful desire on our own choice or initiative because we love the sin too much that we’re not going to give it up or let it go on our own. God is going to have to force us to give up this sinful desire. He’s going to have to bring us to a point where we finally admit and decide that this one sin isn’t worth all the suffering and grief we’re going through. This is the change that the Lord wants to produce in us.


This theme of suffering brings me to our next principle of change. And the principle is this. IN ORDER FOR US TO CHANGE WE NEED TO LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES AND PROFIT FROM OUR SUFFERINGS.

Now there are many different kinds of sufferings. There are many different reasons why God’s people suffer. But the one reason and cause for suffering that I’d like to look at today is the suffering that is the result of sin. It’s called chastisement or chastening. When we sin God chastises us. Hebrews 12:6-8 puts it this way, For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child. (7)  As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?  (8)  If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all.

God loves His children. He loves you by name! And when you disobey Him He chastens you. GOD’S CHILDREN ARE CHASTENED AND DISCIPLINED WHEN THEY SIN. It’s definitely not fun or enjoyable. In fact, we hate it and we don’t want it. But God lays it on us because He loves us. Chastening is proof that God still loves us and we’re still His children!

Why does chasten us? Because CHASTENING IS MEANT TO CHANGE US. TO MAKE US MORE RIGHTEOUS. MORE OBEDIENT. It will do this if we submit to the suffering, learn from our sin, and choose next time to be righteous instead of sinful.

Hebrews 12:10-11 tells us,  Our human fathers correct us for a short time, and they do it as they think best. But God corrects us for our own good, because he wants us to be holy, as he is.  (11)  It is never fun to be corrected. In fact, at the time it is always painful. But if we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace.

Let’s look at how chastisement changed a stubborn, hard-headed fellow named Jonah who, not surprisingly, was a spitting image of us. 


Jonah was a prophet in Israel. And as a prophet, it was Jonah’s job to go to whoever and wherever God sent him to speak the message that God gave him to speak. On this particular occasion, God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach a word of warning and destruction (Jonah 1:1-2).

Now Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria. And Assyria was, at this time, the dominant world power. You could say that they were the rulers of the world. And it just so happened that Assyria and Israel were mortal enemies at this time. Assyria was Israel’s hated enemy #1. They fought several wars. And, within fifty years of Jonah’s ministry, Assyria would invade Israel and pretty much destroy Israel as a nation.

So when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh He was, in effect, asking an Israelite to go into the very heart of the heathen enemy and, as an enemy of the Assyrians, give these heathens a threatening message from a foreign God. It was, in the natural, a life-shortening recipe for disaster and death. Without God’s intervention, the prophet would never make it out of Nineveh alive. He would never see Israel again. His life was as good as dead and done. So what do you think Jonah did? Like a lot of us today, Jonah disobeyed God and ran for his life (Jonah 1:3).

Like I said, if you’re a true child of God, God isn’t going to let you get away with disobedience. You can run from Him and hide from Him. But God knows exactly where you’re at, where you’re going, and what you’ve got planned up your sleeve. And God goes right to work, making sure your plans don’t succeed. This is where your life starts to fall apart and one thing after another goes wrong for you.

Jonah 1:4-17 details how fearsome and awful God can be when you mess with Him:  But the LORD made a strong wind blow, and such a bad storm came up that the ship was about to be broken to pieces.  (5)  The sailors were frightened, and they all started praying to their gods. They even threw the ship’s cargo overboard to make the ship lighter. All this time, Jonah was down below deck, sound asleep.  (6)  The ship’s captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep at a time like this? Get up and pray to your God! Maybe he will have pity on us and keep us from drowning.” 

(7)  Finally, the sailors got together and said, “Let’s ask our gods to show us who caused all this trouble.” It turned out to be Jonah.  (8)  They started asking him, “Are you the one who brought all this trouble on us? What business are you in? Where do you come from? What is your country? Who are your people?”  (9)  Jonah answered, “I’m a Hebrew, and I worship the LORD God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”  (10)  When the sailors heard this, they were frightened, because Jonah had already told them he was running from the LORD. Then they said, “Do you know what you have done?” 

(11)  The storm kept getting worse, until finally the sailors asked him, “What should we do with you to make the sea calm down?”  (12)  Jonah told them, “Throw me into the sea, and it will calm down. I’m the cause of this terrible storm.”  (13)  The sailors tried their best to row to the shore. But they could not do it, and the storm kept getting worse every minute.  (14)  So they prayed to the LORD, “Please don’t let us drown for taking this man’s life. Don’t hold us guilty for killing an innocent man. All of this happened because you wanted it to.” 

(15)  Then they threw Jonah overboard, and the sea calmed down.  (16)  The sailors were so terrified that they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made all kinds of promises.  (17)  The LORD sent a big fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

Well, Jonah was pretty set and stubborn about not doing what God wanted him to do. But suffering and chastisement have a way of changing a  guy’s  heart and making him whistle a different tune. Jonah gets swallowed by a whale or something really humongous. He should have died. But God miraculously kept him alive because He had a job for Jonah to do.

When Jonah saw how precarious his circumstances were the very first thing he did was pray (Jonah 2:1). In the midst of his sufferings and chastisement Jonah had a change of mind. He vowed that if God ever got him out of this fix he would obey Him, go to Nineveh, and preach to those heathen enemies of Israel (Jonah 2:9).

Jonah got things right with the Lord and, once he did,  God brought the suffering and chastisement to an end. The fish vomited Jonah out and the relieved prophet found himself on dry ground once again (Jonah 2:10).  

What was it that got Jonah to change his mind? What brought him to repentance and obedience? God’s chastisement.

Brethren, God’s out to change you. To change your heart, mind, affections and desires for sin. If you will not do that on your own, God will take over and force you, or get you, to change your mind about sin. How’s He going to do that? By chastising you and making you suffer quite miserably. Intolerably.

Do you have your mind bent on sin? Are you sure you want to disobey God and do things your own way? If so, then be ready to suffer for your selfish, sinful, stubborn mindset.  I guarantee you, like  Jonah,  it  won’t be pretty. You can be stubborn all you want right now. But I guarantee you, if you want to live you will eventually change your mind about sin and cry out to God for mercy, help, and salvation.

So do you find yourself in the whale’s belly right now? Is life falling apart for you? Like Jonah, turn back to God and pray. Apologize to Him and ask Him for forgiveness. Ask Him to give you a change of heart. To cleanse you and rid you of your sinful desires (1 John 1:9).

God still loves you! It may not seem like He does. But He still loves you. That’s why He’s made things miserable for you. But He doesn’t want you to be miserable for the rest of your life! He doesn’t want to kill you! He’s not against you! He just wants to teach you a lesson. If you learned your lesson, humble yourself and go penitently to God in prayer. I guarantee you you’ll feel better, you’ll find yourself standing on dry ground, and life will be sweet once again. God’s grace be upon you, dear friend, to abhor what’s evil and cling to what’s good and Godly.



THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS MEANT TO BE A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE. Romans 8:29 tells us that we were predestinated—that is, long before we were even conceived or born, God chose us to be His children. And when He chose us to be His children He decided that we all should look like Christ. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Jesus, in essence, tells us the same thing in Matthew 10:24-25, The disciple is not above his master, neither the servant above his lord. {25} It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.

In other words, the Christian life is all about growing and becoming more and more like Christ. THE LONGER WE LIVE THE MORE WE SHOULD BECOME LIKE CHRIST.

God, brethren, doesn’t want us to be the same ole person we’ve always been. Several months or years from now we’re not supposed to be the same person that we are today. I pray that all of us here today can honestly say that many areas of our life have been changed in the years since we first became a Christian.

Chances are, however, there are still one, two, or a handful of areas in our Christian life that have defied change. I’m talking about the nagging habits, the addictions, weaknesses, flaws, imperfections, the sin that we’ve kept hidden in the deepest, darkest recesses of our heart, that have heretofore dodged our half-hearted efforts at self-remediation or improvement. Even after all these years, there are still some aspects of our mindset, personality, emotions, behavior, lifestyle, and conduct that have remained unchanged.

So how do we change something that we don’t want to change? We love the sin too much to give it up. And we’ve got no intention of giving it up.

If we will not change, God will force change upon us. He has to—we’ve forced Him to—because we’re His children and He’s not gonna let sin destroy and damn us. If we will not help ourselves, God will help us. It won’t be pleasant or pretty. It’s gonna involve a lot of pain and suffering. But it works. Suffering has a way of changing us. It changes our mind and gives us a different, truer perspective of things.

Let’s look at how sufferings changed a guy who was remarkably very much like you and me.


There are different reasons for suffering. One of these is the law of sowing and reaping.


Galatians 6:7-8 warns us, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. {8} For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

When you make the wrong decisions and do things that are wrong–you may not think you’re wrong, but you are in God’s sight; God is gonna let you suffer the natural consequences of your actions and decisions.

For example, if you decide to break into your neighbor’s house and steal a humongous diamond that they’ve hidden in a tin can; and you end up getting caught; then you going to jail isn’t God’s chastisement. It’s a matter of you doing time for the crime. It’s the law of sowing and reaping.

Now there are many different ways you can respond to your sufferings. You can get mad. Get bitter. Get even. Get delusional and proclaim your innocence. But none of these responses do you any good.

The only really good thing that can come out of your sufferings is if you choose to humble yourself, admit you’re wrong, and learn from your mistake. You can use your sufferings to change you and change your mind about sin.

Let’s look at how a young man who made a lot of terrible mistakes was able to turn his life around by profiting from his sufferings and doing the right thing. Generally speaking, YOUR LIFE AND YOUR LIFE’S CIRCUMSTANCES WON’T START TO CHANGE AND IMPROVE UNTIL YOU HEAD IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND START DOING THE RIGHT THING.


There once was a man who had two sons. The younger of these sons decided that he had had enough of the old homestead and farming as a way of life. He wanted to go out on his own, see the world, and get a taste of the good life that he felt he was missing by staying at home. So he went to his dad and asked for his share of the estate and inheritance (Luke 15:12).

Hebrews 11:25 tells us that the pleasures of sin are only for a season. They’re temporary and short lived. They don’t last forever.  The good times last as long as you’ve got money. And as long as you’re healthy enough to enjoy your sins. But when you run out of money, or when you get sick, you just can’t enjoy the pleasures of sin anymore—you’re too busy suffering and being miserable.

And that’s exactly what happened to the prodigal son. The bad times came and the young man was forced to live in a very different set of circumstances. He was basically worse off than he ever was, living at home.

Luke 15:13-16 chronicles the young man’s misfortunes:  A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.  (14)  About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.  (15)  He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs.  (16)  The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.


And this is precisely what the young man’s misfortunes did for him. When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! (18)  I will go home to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,  (19)  and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant (Luke 15:17-19).

Of course, it takes a lot of humility and courage to admit you were wrong. You’re gonna have to swallow your pride, head back home, and apologize to your dad. But when you’re hungry and hurting, with no other options left; you do whatever you have to do to get out of your mess and return to some semblance of what your life used to be. The prodigal son had not only learned from his mistakes: he swallowed his pride, humbled himself, went home, and made things right with his dad.

Do you know what it was that brought this stubborn, selfish, self-willed, sin-loving man to his knees? Do you know what it took for him to wake up and do the right thing? The sufferings that he went through. THE LAW OF SOWING AND REAPING WILL CHANGE YOU FOR THE BETTER…IF YOU LET IT.

SUFFERING DRIVES US BACK TO GOD. It causes us to admit how so much we need God back in our life. We’re lost and undone without Christ. We can’t make it in life without Him.


Only God can give us life. Only He can fill our life with meaning, peace, joy, and fulfillment.

Unfortunately, we don’t know that—at least, we don’t admit or accept that—when we’re too gung ho on having our own sinful, selfish way.


So if you’re tired of suffering and want to be done with the heartaches and sufferings of sin, come back to God, get down on your knees, tell Him you’re sorry, and ask Him to forgive you. God’s waiting for you. You might think He’s mad at you and doesn’t want any part of you. But you’re so totally wrong! God sooo loves you still and He waiting for you to come back home to Him.

I pray these verses of Scripture will lead you back to God. Psalm 103:8-18 gives us a true picture of God’s heart and love for you. The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  (9)  He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.  (10)  He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.  (11)  For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.  (12)  He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.  (13)  The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.  (14)  For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.  (15)  Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.  (16)  The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here.  (17)  But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him. His salvation extends to the children’s children  (18)  of those who are faithful to His covenant, of those who obey His commandments!

God is a gracious, longsuffering God. He will hear you, forgive you, and receive you. He will bring the suffering to an end. And you will get your second chance to do things His way. Brethren, learn from your mistakes. Don’t suffer in vain! Let your sufferings do something good for you. Let them change you and make you a better Christian. God bless you mightily! See you at home.


We all like to have things our way. It’s a natural and normal thing that comes with being human. It’s not necessarily the best, safest, or healthiest thing for us. God has a better way. His way. But sometimes people just can’t tell us differently or convince us otherwise: our way is the best way! It’s this stubborn, inextinguishable belief that’s a huge part of the reason why we like having our way.

As you know full well by now,  things don’t always go the way we planned. It’s a real downer and a source of frustration, disappointment, anger, and tears. But that’s life. And we find a way to go on.

But when things don’t pan out the way God said they would, then that becomes a really really difficult thing for me. I’m a believer. I take God at His Word. When He makes me a promise and I take Him up on that promise, I fully expect Him to do what He said He would do. And when He doesn’t, I go through a serious time of reflection and questioning. Is God’s Word true or not? Of course it is, silly! Then why didn’t it work?

I like to have answers. Sometimes, the answers are easy. Sometimes hard to fathom or digest. Sometimes there aren’t any answers. At least, not right now. Maybe down the road. Maybe never. But whether I understand the reasons or not, I’m still a believer. God expects me to continue believing Him. Continue serving Him. Continue praising Him. And since I’m a preacher, God expects me to continue preaching the Word of truth and life.

I’m constantly amazed by how practical and relevant the Bible is to us in our day. As an example, here’s what I learned from the Scriptures when things didn’t pan out the way I thought they would.


When things don’t go the way they should—at least, the way God said they would; the easiest and readiest thing to do is point a finger or fist at God and blame Him for the mess. Non-Christians are especially vociferous and vile, blaming God, whenever tragedy strikes. Some of us mouth off everytime we don’t get our way. Poor God!  He gets blamed for a lot of things!

I used to blame God in my younger days as a Christian. But the more I read the Bible and got acquainted with God the more I came to a point where I realized that A RIGHTEOUS, SINLESS GOD COULD DO NO WRONG. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD TO BE WRONG AND TO DO WRONG!  

  • Psalm 145:17 puts it this way, The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works.
  • Daniel 9:14 says essentially the same thing: Our God is righteous in all the works that He has done.  
  • Deuteronomy 32:4 echoes the refrain: He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

There’ve been times when it sure looked like God was wrong. He messed up. He was unfaithful. But we will never, not ever, prove God and His Bible wrong! NO MATTER WHAT GOD DOES OR ALLOWS, HE’S ALWAYS RIGHT AND RIGHTEOUS. HE’S NEVER WRONG. HE NEVER MAKES A MISTAKE. HE NEVER MESSES UP—even when we think He did. Even when it looks like He did.

So if God isn’t to blame, who is? I hate to say it, and you’re not gonna like me for saying it, but sometimes—not all the time thankfully, but nevertheless sometimes—we’re the reason why things didn’t pan out the way they were supposed do. We messed up. THINGS GO WRONG WHEN WE’RE WRONG.

We don’t always know it. At least, not right away. Sometimes we refuse to admit guilt, blame, or responsibility. Sometimes we’re willfully blind, self-deceived, and engaged in a cover-up or denial. And at other times, we’re ignorantly blind: we just don’t see the true nature of things. In either case, when we don’t see, we need the Lord to open our eyes, our heart, and mind, to see where we went wrong.


Let me put this train of thought on hold and talk to you a little bit about myself. I love to garden. I get a tremendous satisfaction in planting a seed and nurturing it so that it gives me the veggies that I’m chomping at the bit to eat or can. It’s a lot of work, sweat, and time. But I get a lot of satisfaction doing the work.

It’s springtime here in the American Midwest and weeds are cropping up everywhere in my garden. I till the open spaces of the garden. But in the asparagus bed, as also in the strawberry and raspberry patch, I get on my hands and knees and pull each weed out. I’ve been that way about weeds ever since I was a young boy on Guam. I like pulling them out instead of cutting them down or hoeing. By pulling the roots out I get fewer and fewer weeds that way.

When we leave the roots in the ground there’s a good chance the weed will come back, sprout up, and grow again. That’s just the way it is.

This reminds me of the parable of the soils in Matthew 13. Some areas of the holy land were really fertile and lush. Others, rocky. And others, overrun with brambles, briars, and thistles. Like many of us today, farmers back then would cut these thorny brushes down, burn them in the field, then plant the seed. But as the seed was growing, guess what happened. The thorns’ roots that were left in the ground came back with a vengeance . They sprouted so many new thorny brushes that they choked out the good seed and the farmer never got a harvest.

Do you see what happened here? The soil was, from all outward appearances, cleared of thorny brushes. But underneath the soil, the thorny brushes’ roots were still there. They were still alive. And as long as these roots were alive, so was the problem.

Much like thorny brushes, in many of us there are underground roots that not many people see. These are the hidden loves, affections, lusts, and desires that we secretly long after and do unseen in the privacy of our house or room. If we don’t deal with these roots, if we don’t get them out of our heart, they’ll end up growing and killing us spiritually. They’ll render us spiritually barren or fruitless. Like the farmer, the spiritual harvest and bounty that we’re expecting just doesn’t pan out.  It doesn’t happen as promised. Why is that? Because the secret loves that we allow to remain in our heart will grow and keep us from bearing and enjoying the fruit. Left alive in our heart, our lusts will kill us someday. It’s only a matter of time.

So what’s the solution? You’ve got to deal with the root of the problem. You’ve got to get sin out of your heart and mind. As long as you leave it there and nurture it, they’ll keep the good seed of the Word from taking root in your heart, growing, and bringing forth the good fruit of change and righteousness in you.

When things don’t pan out the way God’s Seed said it would, when the fruit of the Seed is lacking; it’s not because God’s Seed isn’t any good. It’s not because it doesn’t work. The Seed does work. Just  not in thorny hearts or minds. Beloved, if you want good fruit, good results, God-promised results; you’ve got to get to the root of your problem. As long as the root’s alive, so is your problem. That’s one reason why things don’t pan out the way we’d like.



1. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOTAL, ABSOLUTE, UNRESTRICTED FREEDOM IN THIS WORLD. I hate to burst your bubble, but this is the real world, not a dream world. No one is totally, absolutely, 100 % free. Everyone has free will. But no one has total, absolute freedom.

We live in a democracy that is the freest nation in the world today. Yet, we’re governed by so many specific laws that it’s obvious we’re not free to do anything or everything that we jolly well please. The laws, police, court system, and penal institutions, are proof that no one is free to do whatever he wants to do.

As goes the nation, so goes the church. No Christian is totally free to live and do as he or she pleases. No Christian lives without Divine Law or restraint. We all live under God’s Law. Just like living in a free nation, we’re free even though we have laws—including God’s laws—that  govern us. We’re free. Just not as free as we’d like—that is, 100% free without any kind of restraint, law, or threat of punishment. There is no such freedom in the created order. Only God is totally, absolutely free. Everyone else—from Satan, to demons, to angels, to mankind—live free, but under God’s laws.

2. FREEDOM FROM MEN’S RELIGIOUS LAWS OR THE LAW DOESN’T FREE YOU FROM OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD.  Since Christ set us free from the Law and from men’s religious laws as a basis for salvation or righteousness; so many people automatically think or assume that they don’t have to obey God’s Word. They equate obedience with bondage to law, legalism, and works salvation.  Freedom thus becomes the freedom not to obey God; the freedom to do as they please. Obedience, whenever it’s undesirable or inconvenient, is explained away and disobedience justified with the oft-repeated, tired refrain, “I’m free. I’m not under the law.”

CHRISTIAN FREEDOM, BRETHREN, IS NOT THE FREEDOM TO DISOBEY GOD. Just because Christ set us free from the law as a means of salvation or righteousness doesn’t mean we don’t have to obey the Word anymore. FREEDOM DOESN’T RELIEVE US OF THE DUTY TO OBEY GOD.

The Old Testament Law required obedience. When we come to the New Testament, we find that God still requires obedience of His people. What did Jesus say to the rich young ruler who wanted to know what he had to do to inherit eternal life? If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17).

This theme of obedience runs throughout the entire New Testament and it’s one of the very last things God warned us about in the Bible: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city (Revelation 22:14). You see, obedience is required of all those who would enter into Heaven.

Disobedience, even in the guise of Christian liberty, disqualifies us from Heaven. Jesus made this quite clear when He said in Matthew 7:21-23, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


It all goes back to the failure of people to see the distinction between freedom and free will (see Christian Liberty Part 1). Free will is the liberty to make our own choices or decisions. We can choose whatever we want to choose.

But freedom is the power or ability to obey God. You see, when we were enslaved to Satan and sin we couldn’t obey God. We lacked the willingness and power, or ability, to obey God. The sin nature of the old man had no desire for godly obedience. But when Christ saved us, He set us free from Satan’s power and He changed us. He made a new man out of us. He washed the old  sin nature away. He gave us a new nature of righteousness and holiness (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24). He gave us something we didn’t have before and that is the desire to obey God.

With a new nature and with freedom itself, God gave us the liberty and power to do what we formerly couldn’t do, and that is, obey Him. Romans 6:18-22 reads, Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.  (19)  Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.  (20)  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right.  (21)  And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom.  (22)  But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.


In the world in which we live, a person is either free or slave. He can only be one or the other. But the paradox of Christian freedom is, A CHRISTIAN IS INDEED FREE, BUT HE BECOMES, AND REMAINS, A SLAVE TO GOD AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. It’s a paradox to the natural mind, but a spiritual truth nonetheless. A Christian is both free and a slave at the same time, Romans 6:22.

Now if you understand the truth that you were a slave of sin even though you had free will, then you will have no problem comprehending the truth that you are now a slave of God even though you still have free will. Brethren, NO ONE IS TRULY FREE. WE ALL BELONG TO SOMEONE, EITHER SATAN OR GOD. A PERSON IS EITHER A SLAVE OF SIN OR A SLAVE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE’S EITHER A SLAVE OF SATAN OR A SLAVE OF GOD. WE ALL—BOTH SAVED AND UNSAVED—ARE SLAVES. NO ONE IS TRULY FREE FROM DOMINION, OWNERSHIP, OR RULE. We all have free will, both saved and unsaved alike. But we’re all still slaves–either of Satan or of God.

You see, when Christ set us free from Satan and sin, He set us free to become His slave. Romans 6:18, ye became the slaves of righteousness.;  Romans 6:22, ye are become slaves of God. Whereas once we were slaves of Satan and sin, Christ set us free and now–even though we’re free–we’re slaves to doing the right thing and living the righteous life. FREEDOM, BRETHREN, IS NOT THE FREEDOM TO DO AS WE PLEASE: IT’S THE FREEDOM TO OBEY GOD AND DO THE THINGS THAT PLEASE HIM.

Does your freedom make you obey God or does it make you disobey Him? After you’ve exercised your freedom, are you in obedience to God or are you in disobedience to Him? Brethren, no matter how you choose to define and use your freedom, freedom is not the freedom to sin: it’s the freedom to obey God and not sin.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 4. More misconceptions about freedom. Thought-provoking. Controversial. But right and true. Pop in and I’ll prove it.



What, then, does it mean to be free? What are we freed from? What are we free to do?

1. CHRISTIAN FREEDOM IS FREEDOM FROM SATAN’S POWER OR CONTROL. When we were unsaved and without Christ Satan was our master. We were under his rule (Acts 26:18). But when Christ saved us He freed us from Satan’s power and rule. Colossians 1:12-13 reads, giving thanks to the Father for having made you fit to share in the inheritance of his people in the light.  (13)  He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son.

Christian liberty is freedom from Satan’s rule or domain. It’s like being rescued out of an oppressive, freedom-robbing, life-threatening country and being taken to a free country where you can live in peace and security. Spiritually speaking, you couldn’t escape the devil’s country on your own. He had you locked up in his domain of imprisonment. What Jesus did  is, like the Rangers and Seals of modern times, He came in and rescued you from your imprisonment. Then He put you on His chopper out of the devil’s country and brought you to His country of freedom, peace, joy, and love.

You see, as Christ-rescued souls, we are in Christ’s country now. We are free from Satan’s tyranny, rule, and imprisonment. We don’t have to listen to the devil and do as he says. Why? Because he’s no longer our master! He doesn’t have authority over us anymore! We are free from his dominion, power, and rule.

2. CHRISTIAN FREEDOM IS FREEDOM FROM OUR SLAVERY TO SIN.  Without Christ we were enslaved to sin. We couldn’t rise above sin. We kept on sinning.  We couldn’t help sinning (Romans 3:10-12).

But when we gave our lives to Jesus, He freed us from sin’s mastery and power over us. Sin can no longer force or compel us to sin! We can choose not to sin. Romans 6:17-18 reads, Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.  (18)  Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

Freedom from sin is like being set free from an addiction, let’s say an addiction to drugs. When you’re set free from a drug addiction you’re no longer addicted to the drugs. You lose your interest in drugs. You don’t find any more pleasure or enjoyment in drugs. It’s no longer a temptation to you, at least, it’s not the strong temptation that it once was in your life. You have the power and willingness of heart to overcome or resist the temptation to use drugs once again.

Freedom from sin, brethren, is the same way. When Christ set us free from sin He did something to us. He changed us. He delivered us from the captivating power and appeal of sin. And He took that longing or urge to sin away from us. Sin is no longer the problem or the temptation that it once was in our lives. It isn’t our master anymore.

Christian freedom, brethren, is all about the power and willingness we have to rise above sin and not sin. THE LIBERTY WE HAVE IN CHRIST IS THE LIBERTY NOT TO SIN.

Brethren, Christ didn’t set us free to sin: He set us free from sin. While we still have the free will to sin because we’re still morally free creatures, we nonetheless don’t have the freedom to sin. The freedom we have as Christians is the freedom not to sin.

3. CHRISTIAN FREEDOM IS FREEDOM FROM USING THE OLD TESTAMENT LAW OR MAN’S RELIGIOUS LAWS AS A MEANS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS OR SALVATION.  Many people try to earn their way into Heaven by keeping some set of laws. For the Jews of Jesus’ day, salvation was by the keeping of the Old Testament Law, as well as the rabbinical law of Judaism’s rabbis. For heathens past and present, diligent observance of a moral, religious, or cultural code of conduct  supposedly ensures one of eternal bliss after death.

But Christ is the end of all of men’s attempts to try and earn salvation or righteousness. Men no longer have to work for salvation because they can never work for it or attain it. Salvation is a matter of God’s grace and it’s received by faith–not works.

  • Romans 10:1-4, Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. {2} For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. {3} For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. {4} For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
  •  Galatians 5:1-4  Christ has set us free! This means we are really free. Now hold on to your freedom and don’t ever become slaves of the Law again.  (2)  I, Paul, promise you that Christ won’t do you any good if you get circumcised.  (3)  If you do, you must obey the whole Law.  (4)  And if you try to please God by obeying the Law, you have cut yourself off from Christ and his wonderful kindness. See also 4:9-11,
  •  Colossians 2:20-23  You have died with Christ, and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as,  (21)  “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”?  (22)  Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.  (23)  These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

Christian freedom is freedom from using the Law or men’s laws as a means of salvation or righteousness; it’s the end of our working to be saved. Brethren, you don’t have to keep the law–any law, be it man’s law or God’s law–in order to be saved. You can’t work for, or earn, your salvation. If you believe in Jesus and have received Him as your personal Lord and Savior, then you’re already saved, Christ has set you free from trying to work for, or earn, your salvation.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 3. I’ll clear the air about some misconceptions that a lot of us have about freedom. What an eye-opener! Get ready to see some things you may never have seen before.