Believer’s Freedom in Christ
Once again the people of India are celebrating their independence from the British rule, which they received 74 years ago. Every Indian will always remember with respect those patriots who sacrificed their lives to attain this freedom.
Yet, as we travel through the length and breadth of this great nation, one thing is very much evident: not all are really enjoying freedom in its fullest sense. A great number of people are still living below the poverty line. Corruption is rampant, so is alcoholism and drug addiction. Casteism is another bondage that nobody could eradicate in spite of the best efforts of the successive governments.
There are many other social evils plaguing the people of India. Yes, there are numerous organizations and activists making every effort to liberate such helpless ones from bondage. However, what does all this signify? Political, national freedom is not enough; man needs much more to be free indeed.
This is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ articulated to the Jewish people who had shown interest in His teachings. When He told them, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”, they could not digest it. They immediately responded, “We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone.” (John 8:31, 32) Amazing, either they forgot the reality or purposely told an utter lie. There were number of occasions when Jewish people were under bondage.
To begin with, we see that Egypt enslaved them, then from time to time many other neighbouring countries. Above all, the major invasions by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, and in the first century, they were under the rule of Rome. Yet, they vociferously declare that they have never been in bondage. That is the way often even most of us react to the variety of oppressions we face. We tend to become blind to the bondages we are in.
Christ made this very clear, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). The Lord was referring to the moral, spiritual slavery of the Jews. They continued to resist such revelation of reality, claiming their Abrahamic ancestry. Then finally the Lord Jesus told them, ->>>More
Possible Bondages of Man
Bondage of Satan. Luke 13:16; 2Timothy 2:26
Bondage of sin. John 8:34; Romans 6:14
Bondage of law .Galatians 5:1; Mark 7:8, 9
Bondage of man 1 Corinthians 7:23; Galatians 1:10
Bondage of the past. Philippians 3:13; 1 Timothy 1:12—17
Bondage of materialism. Matthew 6:25; 1Timothy 6:10
Bondage of traditions .Galatians 4:3; Colossians 2:20
Bondage of fear. Hebrews 2: 15; 2Timothy 1:7
Bondage of self. Matthew 6: 25, 31
Door to Freedom
At the end of Korean War, thousands of Chinese prisoners were faced with the alternative to either return to communist China or go to free China in Taiwan. They were brought in to the room of Decision. Two doors on opposite sides of the room stood open. The prisoner had to choose which door he wants to enter through: the door to freedom or the door to slavery.
Under terrific Chinese verbal pressure some were induced to return to China and slavery. Most of the Chinese prisoners of the United Nations however chose the other door, refusing to return to China. They chose freedom.
Do not be just a Recipient, be a Giver too
We are living in such a perilous time that we are not yet able to come out of the terrible pandemic. The world is reeling under the pressure of endless troubles. God’s people are no exception but share a part of these sufferings.
In Christian circles, we have been hearing innumerable messages of comfort and peace, which men and women seem to expect from the preachers. No doubt, many of our loved ones are still going through great struggles. In a situation like this, it is fitting for us to comfort those who are going through pain.
Apostle Paul places before us some valuable suggestions in 2Corinthians 1: 3 - 7
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.”
Who is the source of our comfort?
Paul says, ‘God is our comforter’. Let us keep this in mind when we try to comfort others. Why is He comforting us? God comforts us so that we will be able to comfort others in troubles. This means that only those who have received comfort from God will be able to comfort others. This needs us to go through lots of experiences in life.
Paul doesn’t say that anyone can comfort anybody. “And just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” V. 5. After we have gone through sufferings, we comfort others with the comfort we received.
There are people who will pour out some words mechanically, hoping to comfort others without sincerity. They have no real understanding of the depth of the grief of the afflicted. They are like subtle politicians who love to do it as a duty. Consequently, they will have to face many shocking’ results.
A person who fails to permeate himself into the sorrow of the broken heart cannot comfort effectively. Remember, it is God’s Spirit working in and through us, bringing heavenly peace into the crushed soul.
So, how should be our approach? ->>>More->>>
By Bro. M. L. Francis, Chennai
A Tribute: Lewis James Samraj (3rd April 1930 – 16th July 2021)
Uncle Lewis James Samraj who went to be with the Lord on 16th July 2021 is one of the few who have influenced me tremendously in Christian life and ministry.
My personal contact with uncle began at ABTI, Madras (now SBC, Chennai) in 1984, when he came to teach us from the gospel of John. His unique way of teaching attracted all of us, and somehow from thereon a special bond developed between us. I still remember, just before returning to Bangalore after his series of classes, uncle called me aside and made a special prayer for me. He maintained this care and love all these years.
I fondly remember the occasions when we could serve the Lord together in Andhra Pradesh as well as Mumbai. We as a family enjoyed his stay with us. One of his habits we noticed was that he used to get ready early in the morning and wait at the drawing room, maybe to give the family easy access to the room. He used every opportunity to share his convictions and encouraged us by way of example to follow the same.
When we reflect upon Uncle Lewis’s life, one thing that stands out is his commitment. He was not just an able Bible teacher and preacher, but one who was absolutely committed to the New Testament church principles.When many in the past thought it convenient to compromise for temporary gain, he >>>>->>>More->>>
“There are two freedoms – the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where a man is free to do what he ought.”
_________ Charles Kingsley
“No man in this world attains to freedom from any slavery except by entrance into some higher servitude. There is no such thing as an entirely free man conceivable.”
_________ Phillips Brooks