John 18:39-40 “But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.
It’s 2:10am Sunday morning as I sit typing this lesson that came to me yesterday as I was walking to my car after picking up a few items from Walmart. I woke up this morning thinking about this lesson and realized the Holy Spirit was prompting me to write all that God had placed on my heart.
As I thought more about the events taking place in John 18:39-40, the question of how do we exchange God’s free gift of grace for the bondage of Barabbas (condemnation) began to reveal itself in complete clarity.
Looking back over my life before the Holy Spirit revealed the power and freedom of God’s grace to me, I see that I exchanged the gift of God’s grace for Barabbas when I felt or experienced the following:
- The guilt of sin in my life.
- Not feeling I did enough for Christ. Was very work/performance driven.
- If I missed a quiet time or didn’t spend time reading my bible or praying as much.
- Based on being performance conscience, if I didn’t share my faith, bring someone to church or study the bible with someone.
- My school work would suffer because I felt guilty if I wasn’t on campus sharing my faith instead of studying.
- If I didn’t baptize anyone or have a bible study lined up.
- Felt the weight of not forgiving myself for how I miss treated someone or lied to them.
The list can go on and on with the choice of choosing Barabbas. The guilt and bondage can place what seems like a life sentence to a maximum security prison of your heart and mind if not fully surrendered to the loving grace of Jesus Christ.
My prayer is for everyone who reads this post to realize that there is a choice we can make to either live in God’s free gift of grace or labor in the bondage of Barabbas.
Jesus died on the cross so we would be set free from the law (Romans 8:1-39) that brought death and condemnation. Therefore, we are not defined by our shortcomings or mistakes. Our true identity in Christ is revealed in the following scriptures:
- 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Galatians 3:27-28 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- 1 John 3:1-2 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
- Colossians 3:1-3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
- 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
- Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.
- 1 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.…
There are countless scriptures that show our true identity in Christ in which the greatest “aha moments” we experience are liberating indeed. The loving grace of Christ is for us to receive and to receive aggressively!
Drop all the guilt and shame of trying to live a life for Christ based on your own effort. Throw yourself into the loving arms of the father who has loved you before you were born. A loving father who died for you so you may live.
Now I say to you, get up from a life of condemnation so you can rightfully claim what is yours to have which is the free gift of God’s grace. This is a gift not based on what you have done or upon your effort. Jesus has done it all for past, present and future generations.
May the grace of God continue to reign supreme in your life and the lives of all God puts in your pathway. Be that light of hope and champion of peace for you are no longer under law but under grace.
Today and forevermore, I choose Jesus, amen!
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To God be the glory, amen!