God's word in today's world

Jesus loosens the handbrake

Jesus freed all who accepted Him as their Saviour from the consequences of sin. He unlocked the shackles of sin that bound us. But it seems as if we are struggling a bit with this freedom. It seems to me people prefer to have clear lanes to show where the road of life is going. And that’s why they keep returning to rules and regulations.

Sometimes, leaders turn up and want to prescribe to others that some things that were permissible are no longer allowed. People pull up the handbrake on things that you may read and not read. Even some food is now no longer on the menu. Some family activities are also outlawed.

Often it is indeed the enjoyable things people should refrain from. This reminds of years ago when the church said that dancing was a sin and that you shouldn’t do it. And so people started joking about it and said you could dance, as long as you didn’t enjoy it …

However, it’s not that odd that people want to put the brakes on freedom. Paul warned as well: 3They will tell you not to get married. They’ll tell you not to eat this or that food—perfectly good food God created … Why ever did they want to stop people marrying, and even worse, why didn’t they want us to enjoy all the lovely meat?

We must take care not to be deceived. We easily fall back into rules and regulations that steal our freedom. Braam (not his real name) put it so well in an e-mail to me:

When we become Christians, we receive a cloak of righteousness that Christ brought into being for us. It is free. But then we start feeling holy and we need to show those who aren’t as “holy” as us what is right. And who better than holy me to do it?

Then we start making up a whole set of rules and regulations to keep people in line. And right there, grace and love disappear out the door. This is where religion is created and Jesus’ work on the cross becomes superfluous.

Jesus challenged the rules and confronted the rule-making Pharisees and showed that it is not about rules, but about a relationship.

What Braam says is so true. It is only within an intimate relationship with Jesus that we don’t need rules and regulations to keep us on the road. In this relationship, it is indeed the Holy Spirit’s function to keep us on the road with his soft voice. Here our freedom is protected. Here the handbrake is loosened and left like that.

May you enjoy the freedom Christ brought and may you share it with all those around you.


1 Timothy 4:1-5

Think about this

Are there rules that bind you?
What does your freedom look like?
Who around you also need freedom?


Father, You sacrificed your life for me so that I didn’t need to take the punishment my sin deserved. Thank you for your blood that freed me and that my love for You helps me to live according to your will for my life. No rules and regulations can achieve what love can. Amen.

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