We Are Set Free

MEXICOChange. I almost shiver at hearing that word sometimes. There are good changes and there are bad changes. But, for the most part, we don’t like any type of change. Change may bring sadness or difficulties or happiness or something new different. And we don’t always like something new.

The Jews didn’t like change. They loved their traditions and laws and sacrifices. So when Jesus, the Son of God, came down to earth and told them to change, they hated him. He offered them something new and different, and most of the people rejected him. They crucified him. Jesus gave them freedom from the law and forgiveness of sins without sacrifices. He offered them new life. Eternal life. But for this they had him beaten and hanged on a cross.

Matthew 24:9

Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.
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This is why Christians are persecuted more so than most. We’re different. Our “religion” isn’t a religion. It doesn’t tell you to work harder and be good so that you can earn your way to Heaven. All religions ask something of you. They give you laws to follow in hopes that you might earn your way to Heaven or Paradise or something like that. But you can never do that. None of us can. We’re too sinful and fallen. We can’t do anything on our own.

The Jews were in the same predicament as everyone else who followed a religion, except for the important fact that they followed the one and only true God. If you look throughout the Old Testament you’ll see that they couldn’t live up to God’s standards. Again and again they fell short.

Jesus changed things. We can now have a one on one relationship with God. We don’t have to be good enough for Him; we just have to believe in Him. There is no more need for sacrifices. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness and He will never fail to forgive us of all our transgressions. We were in slavery under the law, but now we are set free.

This is why someone will always be persecuting us (at least until Jesus returns). Our sinful human nature wants to work for salvation. It gives us a feeling of self, of identity (though our identity can be found in Christ). We like to believe that we did something on our own. Like God isn’t actually in control of our lives. But that’s not true. For everything we’ve done or ever will do has been because of God. All the glory belongs to Him.

Let’s rejoice over the freedoms we have today in Christ.

We are set free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:3

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

This doesn’t mean to live however an ungodly lifestyle you want.  Because of this precious gift God has given us we should want to live by the example Jesus set before us. We shouldn’t ever waste such freedom that way.

Jesus changed the world. Now it’s our chance to live out that change to the fullest.

-G. Paige

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My Worldview (An Essay)

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Today, I’m posting something a little different than what I normally do. This is a essay I wrote last week for school and I thought I would share it with ya’ll. Enjoy!

Over a trillion people are living in the world today. Each person has his/her own unique and distinct worldview. Many worldviews maybe similar, but none are exactly alike. Today I will be sharing my worldview: my view of God and how he works and interacts in our world, the basis on which I determine right and wrong, and what has influenced my view. Also, I will present my perspective on a historical event. Some things are just my opinion and need not be accepted; others should be taken to heart by all.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. I believe that there is only one true God. He interacts with us intimately and with those who believe in Him everyday. He is with us always. He is holy, sovereign, and above all, loves us. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John‬ ‭3:16‬. The Bible, God’s written word and inspired by him, is wholly true. Since the Bible is true, I understand that mankind’s purpose is to glorify God. To do this, we must learn about God through the Bible, submit to his will and follow his commands.

The Bible is the basis for my faith. Accordingly, what God deems wrong I believe wrong, the same can be said for what is right. The Bible is full of laws and commandments, but because of what Jesus did on the cross we are set free from the law. “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬. So how am I to act? This next verse explains it well. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23.‬ I strive to be all these things at all times, but no one is perfect. The Bible has taught me what is right and wrong.

To have a worldview it must come from somewhere, it must have been influenced and affected by things. My worldview can be summed up in my faith, Christianity. My parents have had a great impact on my worldview, who knows where I’d be without them. Among others, R.C. Sproul’s books that I’ve read have helped deepen my faith and worldview.

Let me tell you what I think about the Civil War, so you get a chance to see my perspective in action. The Civil War was a major changing point in American history. If the North had lost the war, our country might be split in two right now. To contradict what most people think, the South was not just fighting to keep slavery; they were fighting for their way of life. The North was fighting for unity and then the freedom of slaves, that wasn’t their main priority. I know to have slaves is wrong, but the way the North dealt with slavery wasn’t right either. I think we should have followed the example of Paul in the book Philemon. In it, Paul tells a runaway slave to go back to his master. Then he pleads with the master in such a way that he would want to free his slaves. You see, instead of going about like the abolitionists did, we should’ve taught the slave owners the true Gospel and the let God convince them that slavery is wrong. The North’s fight for unity I think is right and honorable as long as they had tried every peaceable way to resolve the conflict first.

As you have read above, I believe in the God of the Bible. My view of God coincides with the Bible and is the foundation of how I determine right and wrong. God, and my parents are two major influences in my life, physically and spiritually. What I would like you to take from this is that God is the only true God. As long as we follow Him (through the Bible), I think we’ll be on the right path.

-G. Paige

Philemon

 

A few months ago I went through the book Philemon in my history curriculum. I was amazed to find so much depth in about a 430 word book. Now I’m not going to read through the whole book with you, but I decided to pull a portion out to read. I’ll take it and break it down piece by piece (or verse by verse, you might say). Before that, I like to shine some light on the background of this letter: Philemon was a wealthy man living in Colossae who had a big enough house for a church to meet in. If he was like the average wealthy man at that time, his household could of had several hundred people in it. Onesimus was one of his many slaves. Onesimus stole something (we don’t know what exactly) and ran away. Then he sought Paul out. He couldn’t have just met Paul in the street because Paul was a prisoner in Ephesus (we also don’t know why Onesimus went to Paul). So Paul writes a letter to a hurt and angry Philemon (and to the church) and probably has Onesimus take it to him. Now, lets read some of this letter.

Philemon 1:10

“I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison.”

So this is pretty simple. Onesimus has recently come to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul, while stuck in prison, has become a father/teacher to Onesimus.

Philemon 1:11

“Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us.”

In this sentence, there is a underlining pun (which many moderns consider the lowest form of humor). You see, the name Onesimus means “Useful”. So really Paul is saying that: “Useful hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now Useful is very useful to both of us.” Ha! Funny, isn’t it?

Philemon 1:12-14

“I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart. I wanted to keep him here with me while I am in these chains for preaching the Good News, and he would have helped me on your behalf. But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced.”

Paul is politely asking to keep Onesimus with him while he is in chains. He doesn’t want Philemon to be forced to help, but be willing to help.

Philemon 1:15

“It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever.”

Philemon lost Onesimus for a little while (when he ran away) so that he could have him back forever as a brother in Christ.

Philemon 1:16

“He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.”

He is much more valuable now because he is a brother in Christ. As I said earlier.

Philemon 1:17

“So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.”

Paul wants Philemon to forgive Onesimus and welcome him back. Another way of saying it is: Paul wants Philemon to do for Onesimus what he would do for Paul. And Philemon has been praying for Paul’s freedom.

Philemon 1:18-19

“If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, PAUL, WRITE THIS WITH MY OWN HAND: I WILL REPAY IT. AND I WON’T MENTION THAT YOU OWE ME YOUR VERY SOUL!”

Paul usually had people write out what he said in his letters, but in his own handwriting he writes that he will pay back whatever Onesimus owes to assure Philemon that he will.

Philemon 1:20-21

“Yes, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ. I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!”

Philemon is such a good friend to Paul that he trusts that he will do ALL that he has asked and even more! Isn’t it amazing how much trust Paul places in Philemon?

Now some people may ask: is Paul saying that slavery is acceptable or okay because he sent Onesimus back to his master? The answer is no. Paul was giving Philemon subtle hints of key beliefs of the Bible that would lead him to the conclusion that slavery is wrong. Paul did NOT believe in attacking social evils. He wanted Christianity as it was to lead people to the right conclusion.

Can you also see that Paul is acting as Christ to lead Philemon and Onesimus to reconciliation? It is beautiful to see how much care and effort Paul worked to set all to right between them. We should all try to strive to be like Christ, helping our fellow members in Christ to live in harmony as one body (the church).

-G. Paige