Memorials are used in the Bible to help us remember the loyalty of God to His people. They allow us to recall the goodness and faithfulness of God in dealing with both Old Testament Israel and the New Testament church.
The month of July for Americans is a time to commemorate and celebrate the liberty and freedom we have as a nation. It also allows us as Christians to realize the tremendous role we have had in forming and fashioning this nation. Freedom is the hallmark of our nation. Liberty was what our founding fathers desired as they sought to escape the tyranny of the law under King George in England. And as we know, freedom came with a price.
The apostle Paul states in Acts 13:38-39, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.”
Many translations use the term “free” or “freed” and this is a legitimate translation. However, it is interesting that Paul uses the term which is normally translated “justified” when speaking about those who can receive eternal life and be “freed” through believing. This is normative theology for Paul as seen in Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:3-7. In Acts 13 being “freed” is put in juxtaposition to the ability or lack of ability of the Law. Again, this is a familiar argument with Paul, the former Pharisee, as he testifies of the powerlessness of the law concerning issues of both justification and sanctification as seen in 2 Corinthians 3:7, Romans 7 and Galatians 2:16. We who believe in Jesus Christ have had the price paid for us and receive the free gift of eternal life apart from all law keeping. In fact as Paul tells us in Romans 4, it must either be of law or of grace. It cannot be both.
I hope this 4th of July gives you time to reflect on what it means to be an American. (You might also enjoy a hot dog and some watermelon.) But might you also remember and rejoice in the freedom we have in Jesus-- because of Jesus. He paid the price for our freedom. As Paul states, Jesus is both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom.3:25). He calls it propitiation.
The FGA exists to proclaim the free and gracious gift. We seek to lead, encourage, educate and connect people and ministries to become more effective in this proclamation. Let me invite you to the upcoming FGA Annual National Conference in Irving, Texas October 8-10. This year we have a great line up of plenary speakers and workshop leaders including, Dr. Dave Anderson, Dr. Mark Bailey, Dr. Charlie Bing, Dr. Tom Constable, Dr. Jody Dillow, Dr. Brian Fisher and Bob Tebow. The theme this year is discipleship. There will be presentations on both the theological themes and practical ministry issues involving discipleship in the Gospel of Luke. We also have as our conference banquet speaker Dr. Mark Bailey, President of Dallas Theological Seminary. I hope you sense that this will be a good investment of your time, both for your own personal encouragement and ministry enhancement. Online registration is now open on www.FreeGraceAlliance.com.
Rejoice in the freedom that is yours in Christ. And make sure that you tell others.
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay President, FGA