~ Choose the Good Portion – Week Nine ~
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
~ John 8:36 ~
Indeed! There’s that word again, right there, in John 8:36! We first saw this word indeed at the end of Genesis chapter one when God looked upon us, His creation, and saw that it was “very good indeed”. Let me copy and paste from last week the meaning of this word “indeed” for you…
“confirming something already suggested” and “introduction of a further, stronger and more surprising point”
“Indeed” is a confirmation of what creation suggests. God’s love for us. It also is an introduction of a further, stronger and more surprising point! JESUS!
The last two weeks we’ve covered the very beginning of this amazing love story that we find in the Bible. Now let’s fast forward through the Old Testament and all the laws of how to look, act, eat, and sacrifice animals. Keep fast forwarding through tales of tragedy and woe, through judges, kings and prophets and head right to the New Testament where we meet this wonderful surprise that the whole Old Testament points us to.
I’m going to go on the assumption that all of my friends reading this already know that Jesus came in the form of a tiny little baby that would grow up to be a man that dies on the cross to set us free and redeem us from the bondage of sin. But did you also know there was more to the purpose of Jesus coming to earth than to die on the cross to save us from sin? That He was the ransom for our hearts and gave His life for us is pretty amazing! But there’s more! I love how the bible is never done! It’s an unending story of “but there’s more” moments!
Now let’s take a look at what’s going on around John chapter eight, specifically verses 12 – 58, where we see Jesus use the word “indeed”. Jesus used this word here to confirm to us that we are FREE. He is using it in conversation with men who believed they had no sin in them. They lived by the Law of Moses, assumed themselves holy and righteous, and called themselves children of Abraham. Jesus said that even though they are descended from Abraham that they do not know God. He tells them if they were truly Abraham’s children, they would recognize Him as the Son of God.
I know we said we were fast forwarding through the Old Testament but we’re going to skip on back to Abraham for just a bit. Abraham is one of my favorite people of the old testament, mostly because of his relationship with God. I love the way God and Abraham related to each other! They talked with one another, they hung out, promised each other things, and they trusted each other. God and Abraham had such an amazing friendship that the authors of the Bible draw attention to it more than once (2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23). Guess what’s also cool about this relationship. This man, Abraham who was a friend of God messed up in some pretty big ways over and over again, but he was doing relationship with God and believed God, and God counted it to him as righteousness and called him a friend.
Got that? Abraham did relationship with God and trusted God, and God counted it to him as righteousness and called him a friend.
Now let’s fast forward back on to John chapter eight again. By the time Jesus came, Abraham’s descendants no longer had relationship with God. The people of this time knew a lot about God but they did not KNOW God. They lived their lives devoted to the Law of Moses and lived by these laws, not because they wanted to please their Heavenly Father, but because they thought of these laws as their link to Heaven, their salvation. Essentially, they did not trust God for salvation. They trusted themselves, their good works, and their “good citizenship award” as their salvation. Their lives were so caught up in what they needed to act like, look like, eat like, talk like, and sacrifice like that they had forgotten all about relationship with God.
Because of this God needed to become flesh to this world. He needed to come down to Earth in order to reconfirm and introduce the INDEED at the end of Genesis chapter one. That He loves us and wants relationship with us. So, He sent himself, in the form of Jesus, to walk on earth and introduce further this concept of a loving relationship with God as our Father and friend.
Jesus did this by loving on people, even the sinners that the “holy and perfect” pharisees paid no attention to at all. He hung out with them, ate with them, fished with them, took their children in his arms, reclined with them and laughed with them.
God created us to have relationship with us as Father and child. He created us to be friends with Him. Jesus was not only God’s plan of redemption. Jesus was God’s plan of FULL RESTORATION. Jesus’ life redeemed us from sins and was the ransom price that restored us to intimacy with our Father. Before the foundation of the earth was laid, Jesus was a part of God’s plan to enter fully into the good portion of loving relationship with our creator and Father.
When we live a life on the assumption that salvation is by our deeds then we are still living in bondage. Guess what all. We all have some form of bondage in our lives. We’re all Marthas in a sense, distracted by doing instead of being at His feet in relationship. We all have habits that keep us in bondage instead of living in the freedom Christ gave us. Habits of thinking we need to have a spotless house before we can have people over and do relationship with them. Habits that tell us we need to finish this last project before we take time to read our child a book. Habits that tell us we need to look a certain way to please God. Habits that say we need to keep it all bottled up so we won’t be judged. Habit, upon habit. Law upon law. We all have distractions, anxieties and fears that keep us in bondage.
Note in Genesis 15:6 that it was not all the wonderful deeds, good works, and looking like a follower of God that made Abraham righteous. It was his trust and belief that God was who He said He was. Abraham was in such close relationship with God that he trusted Him with everything.
Friends, I encourage you to choose the good portion of relationship with God. I encourage you to grasp firmly onto the love of God and let go of fear. Fear is what holds us in the bondage of habit. Fear is what holds us in the bondage of performance. Fear is what holds us to the Law. But perfect love casts out fear! Like Abraham, believe God! Believe that when He set you free, He set you free from EVERYTHING! And you are FREE INDEED!
Pray this with me…
Father thank you for setting us free! Thank you that we are not bound to the law, but we are bound to you as our Father. And not in a legalistic way that says we have to look and act a certain way to earn your love. Our hearts are bound to you Lord, not as slaves but as soul mates. We hunger and thirst for relationship with you, Father, in a way that we know, not just about you, but know who you are in an intimate way as a father and child. Help us to get into your word, so that it can get into us and become so much a part of us that we do not doubt you. That we will trust that you are who you say you are. Thank you for creating us for relationship with you, thank you for valuing our hearts and sending your son to be a ransom for us and restoring us to relationship with you as our Father and friend. Help us to let go of fear that traps us in our ways. Replace the habits that keep us bound with a habit of freedom in relationship with you. May we live as though we are loved and free indeed!
* Take time to read these scriptures today:
– Genesis 15:6 – And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
– Matthew 20:28 – “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
– John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the word to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
– John 8:36 – “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
– Romans 4:1 – 8 – What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven; and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
– Romans 8:15 – For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba Father!”
– 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
* Think About It:
Are you living like you’re still caught up in bondage of doing? Are you like Martha distracted and anxious by many things? That’s okay, friend! You aren’t alone. In your journal, write a letter to God sharing with Him your deepest heart. Your fears, your habits, your secrets. Choose to trust Him as your closest friend. Because He is! Trust in His perfect love for you. A love that casts out fear and has set you free indeed!
Blessings to you as you Choose the Good Portion today!
All biblical references are ESV unless otherwise noted.