For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
My great-grandmother was born and raised in a small town in East Texas. She would eventually move to California, but although far from her birthplace, she carried the traditions of her family with her. One of these beloved traditions was that of celebrating Juneeteenth—the day slaves in Texas heard the news that the Union had won the Civil War, over two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. What makes this celebration so important even years later is the sadness of realizing that people, my ancestors even, were living as slaves although declared free. My family celebrates this with thanksgiving even as we grieve the dignity stolen by the harsh reality of slavery.
Sister, in Christ, you have been declared free, and at Sparrow Conference, we hope to encourage you to live in the fullness of freedom the gospel offers even as we grieve the presence of sin.
In a world that aches of brokenness, even our attempts at self-sufficiency show our desire to be free. That may be freedom from a circumstance, sin, or the pressure we place on ourselves to be our own rescuer. When the Father transfers us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light by faith, we are freed to life in Christ (Colossians 1:13).
We are freed from the penalty of our sin by the blood of Christ.
Romans tells us that the penalty of sin has been removed from those who trust in Christ (Romans 8:1). No longer condemned, believers are freed from the punishment of sin now and forever. While discipline remains from a good and loving God, fear of rejection from a just and loving God is replaced by His lovingkindness on the merit of His beloved Son.
We are freed from lies that seek to steal dignity.
Who hasn’t longed to be made new? When we fail or are harmed, the stain of shame can feel to heavy to bear. In Christ, our identity is changed. No one is “stuck” as they were, instead, we are being transformed. No matter what you have done or what has been done to you, your dignity is bestowed and renewed by the gospel. There is hope even in the most hopeless of situations.
We are freed to fear God and not people.
Made in the image of God, we are hardwired for community. This can lead to more harm than good when we fear people more than we fear God. When we have awe of who the Lord is, in all of His majesty and glory, our loves are rightly placed. We are freed to fear God and thus we are freed to love others without idolizing them.
We are freed to delight in the Lord now and forever.
In the cross of Christ, we see how God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful. When we see His power and His love, we worship. We are invited to delight in the Lord instead of trying to fill ourselves with things of the world. One day, believers will worship God free from the presence of sin. For now, we are graciously offered to worship in “Spirit and in truth.”