By Grace I Am Released

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

I’m an angry person. I’m prone to impatience, jealousy, pride, and all sorts of ugliness. Heck, if I’m honest – old Matt was kind of a jerk. But I always tell people that it’s irrefutable evidence that God exists that I am no longer defined by these characteristics!

Only by the Grace of God could I ever be released from those traits. I do my best every day to allow myself to be sanctified, and now through Christ I am able to speak and respond with a spirit of gentleness, patience, and understanding. But of course, I screw up. I still say things that I shouldn’t and I respond poorly from time to time. But I am absolutely a different person since I first declared with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus Christ is Lord.

In John 16, Jesus says “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment…”

Here, “the Advocate” Jesus is referring to is the Holy Spirit of God. When we come to know Jesus as Lord, the Holy Spirit indwells us. He convicts us daily, refining us, growing us, and sanctifying us. In Him we can be released from our sin, our shame, our anxieties, our hurts, our character flaws, our addictions… This is such a beautiful Truth of the Gospel, how can we not share this with the world?! We no longer have to be defined by who we once were, but rather by who God is. And by who we are in Christ.

This is the heart behind the song “Released”, the opening track on the Collective Worship album. God loved us so much that He made a way for us to be forgiven, to have relationship with him, to be made new through Him, and to be granted the reward of eternal life – even though none of us deserve it. We were dead in our sins, but have become resurrected to life again with Christ.

-Matt
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