There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
The Lord be with you. (And also with you / And with your spirit)
Lift up your hearts. (We lift them up to the Lord)
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give Him thanks and praise.
No matter what we see before us, friends, it is right to give Him thanks and praise.
We praise Him for who He is; He is Creator – Creator of the Universe, and all that is seen and unseen; He is maker of time and space, and is therefore beyond time and space – He is eternal, and He is infinite. It is right to give Him praise.
We thank Him for what He has done – He has sent Christ, His only begotten Son. Through Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and ascension, He has reconciled us. He gave us His body and blood, giving us everything and committing to us forever. It is right to give Him thanks.
Indeed, we thank Him. Here in the Philippines we’re celebrating our 124th year of independence from the then colonial power of Spain… And I found it fitting for us to go through a bundle of verses to celebrate our independence, and our freedom in the body of Christ.
But what have we been freed from?
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
As we keep on looking at Romans 5, we are reminded of how Adam’s disobedience ushered sin to enter the world. We would ask ourselves, why do bad things happen? Well, the short answer is because of the sin that entered into the world. It’s sin that entered into our beings, and as long as we were so saturated with sin, we were separated from God.
But we give God the glory, because His love towards us is complete and absolute. One of the so-called seven last words of Jesus Christ on the cross was ‘It is finished’. What exactly was finished? The cup was finished. What cup would that be? My media man may not have it in his notes but I pull from Isaiah 51:17:
Wake yourself, wake yourself,
stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD
the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
the bowl, the cup of staggering.
The cup was God’s wrath against sin. This was the same cup that Christ was referring to in Matthew 20:20-23, when He was rebuking the mother of James and John, asking them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” (Matthew 20:22)
In taking the ‘cup’ Christ effectively took all the sin there was to take, much so to the point that He literally became sin. And since we know from Romans 3 that the wages of sin is death, you can say that He literally became death as well.
See, that’s what Christ set us free of. It is right to give Him thanks, for He has set us free of sin, and as He set us free of sin, He has set us free of death.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
So we praise God! Why so? Because Christ has set us free of our greatest problems, we no longer need to fear sin and death – and consequently, other issues and problems we have are put into their place – We no longer have anything to fear about! Because Christ has set us free of sin and death, He has consequently set us free of fear!
So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
You couldn’t talk about what we have been set free from without talking about what we have been set free into – And in this case, we thank God once again – for we have been set free into the opposite of what we have been set free from.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Take a look at the latter part of the verse, where it says we have become the righteousness of God. See what’s going on here? In the exchange, Christ became our sin, and therefore, there was no other place of righteousness to go but to us, and much so that we have literally become righteousness – not merely righteous as an adjective, but we have BECOME righteousness!
…as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And just as the wages of sin is death, so righteousness leads to eternal life!
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do you see the pattern here? We have been set free from sin, so we have been set free from death, and therefore, we have been set free from any obligation to fear. On the other hand, we have been set free into righteousness, so we have been set free into eternal life, and as we celebrate these truths we take possession of peace that surpasses all understanding!
It is right and good and a glorious thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to God – Christ’s finished work has guaranteed us of a freedom so glorious, a salvation so deep and intense that we couldn’t hope to pull it off on our own!
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Let us enjoy this freedom as we start another week. God bless us all!
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1 Peter 2:16-17
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
1 Corinthians 6:12