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Freed Will

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2 NRSVUE

You may have heard of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). My first acquaintance with the name was sometime in the 80s when I dabbled in a programming language named in his honor. Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, and Christian philosopher. Among his many note-worthy quotes on religion, he wrote, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

From the days of our beginnings to the time of our death, we yearn to fill that vacuum. In Wesleyan terms, we call this prevenient grace the love of God that goes before and calls us to God. We are familiar with the term free will; we can choose to accept the grace extended to us or not, but yesterday I heard a new expression–new to me anyway–freed will. In that prevenient grace, God frees us so we can decide to sin no more. Without God’s freeing permission, we would remain bound to sin and death. Our salvation is all by his grace.

The Law given to Moses by God was a binding covenant with Israel, but it was incomplete. The blood of animals was insufficient for the price of sin to be paid. God, in his mercy, sent his Son, the pure and sinless Jesus, to do what the Law could not free us from sin. Paul writes, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Rm 6:14)

In Christ’s might act, we are given freed will to fill that spiritual vacuum. In acknowledging his prevenient grace, we come to know his truth, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Jn 8:32). In accepting Christ, we enjoy another grace, justifying grace–that grace by which we are forgiven. Using an analogy from Wesely, if prevenient grace is stepping on the porch of the house, justifying grace is entering into the house.

We don’t want to just stand in the doorway; we want to start living in the house; this is sanctifying grace. Of course, we don’t live in this home alone; we have a roommate, the Holy Spirit. With its guidance, we grow to become more like Jesus.

God, we thank you for your prevenient grace that leads us to recognize the vacuum, for the justifying grace that frees us from sin and fills the void, and for your sanctifying grace that leads us on to the perfection of Christ. We confess that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves; it is only by your love and amazing grace that we are freed. Help us this day to grow evermore in your likeness, spreading your light and love in the world. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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