Acts 13:38-39 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.”
This is a very important passage for a number of reasons. From the standpoint of my father’s dissertation, it makes it clear that what we think of as “in Christ” can sometimes be understood more accurately as “through Christ.” Another point is that where the NIV says “justified,” the Japanese says “freed/liberated.” The Bible speaks many times of sin being a bondage, so that’s a very important point. The Law of Moses is essentially a diagnosis of our condition, but release and healing come through Jesus Christ. Diagnosis is very important. If you don’t know what your disease is, you aren’t going to deal with it accurately. Many people walk in bondage simply because they don’t understand that Christ has already freed them from their past sins. Peter calls such a situation being “nearsighted and blind.” (2 Peter 1:9) In the book of Romans Paul talked extensively about being a slave to sin. The thing is, in Christ the shackles are off and the doors are opened, but if we don’t understand and believe that, we will act like we are still slaves. That has been a problem ever since the 1st Century and it remains a huge problem today. The people Paul was talking to here at least did know the Law of Moses, but we deal with people all the time who don’t even know the diagnosis of their condition. That’s why the devil hates to have the Ten Commandments posted and taught. We do need to know what God’s righteous commands actually are, so that we will understand how thoroughly we have violated them. At the same time, we need to know that we cannot keep those commands in our own strength, but God has provided a way for His Spirit to do the “heavy lifting” in and through us. We have to believe that, as the song says, “Jesus paid it all,” and open our hearts to Him for the cleansing flow of His Spirit.
I am often reminded of how I had a time of being “nearsighted and blind,” just as Peter said, unable to shake off a besetting sin. It was only when I accepted that I had really been forgiven that I was freed from the powerful impulse to do it again. I still have that weakness and must not be presumptive, but I am not a slave to it because I know I have been forgiven, and the compulsion is gone.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me proclaim the liberty that comes from being a slave to Christ, bound by His love for me and mine for Him, so that many may be set free from the bondage of sin. Thank You. Praise God!