Freedom has a deep meaning to me as on both sides of my family, we have war veterans. My paternal grandfather flew dive bombers in World War II. He was in the first squadron to land on Guadalcanal as a retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On my mother’s side, we have traced our lineage back to John McCutchen who was born in 1739 and fought in the Revolutionary War.
So, the fact that in my heritage are men who fought to bring the United States the freedom it enjoys today makes me very proud. I love that the blood of freedom fighters runs in my veins.
There is another type of freedom, however, even more profound, and meaningful to me. It’s the freedom we receive when we trust Jesus as Savior and embrace our identity in Him.
The Apostle Paul addressed this topic in his letter to the Colossians. As we study this passage briefly, we will uncover four elements of freedom you can enjoy in your identity in Christ.
Colossians 1:12-14 states,
“12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Free From Performance-Based Living
The first item we see is that we are free from performance-based living. Notice verse 12 says that the ‘Father has qualified you.’
This qualification happened the moment you trust Christ for eternal salvation and the forgiveness of your sins. Our sin was poured into Christ at his crucifixion. His righteousness is poured into us at our conversion. At that moment of salvation, we are free from performance-based living! All striving and performing to be something great in God’s eyes or other’s eyes is over.
For example, when you took your driver’s test at age 16 and passed, did you retake the test at 17 or 18? No, you were already qualified to be an automobile driver when you were 16. No more trying to prove you could drive an automobile safely.
Just as salvation is based on Christ, so is my worth from that point on. Some find their worth in being the best mom on the block, the go-to person at work, the best cook in the family, the sibling that does most the work. It is not wrong to strive for excellence, but it is pointless to find your ultimate worth in anything other than being a son or daughter of the King of the Universe.
Thankfully, we are free from performance-based living. Secondly, we are from the authority of Satan.
Free from the Authority of Satan
“13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,”
The phrase, “dominion of darkness” is normally translated “power or authority.” Before you became a Christian, you belonged to Satan’s kingdom, and you were under the authority of Satan.
But when you became a Christian, you were transported into the kingdom which belongs to Christ. You are no longer in Satan’s kingdom, and you are no longer under his authority. Now, the only authority Satan has to operate in our life is the authority we give him! We can no longer say “the devil made me do it!”
When you are tempted to give into a sin, an old pattern of behavior or an old thought pattern about your worth, remind yourself that you are free from Satan’s control. You don’t have to sin, you are no longer a slave to sin!
Not only are we rescued from the dominion of darkness and no longer under the authority of Satan, but we are free from the mistakes we made while living there.
Free From the Mistakes of the Past
Having my identity in Christ means I am not defined by my past … by my past mistakes, by the past mistakes of others to me, by my childhood or by my regrets. They no longer have power over me because I have forgiveness of my sins.
“14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
The word forgive literally means “to place away.” When you become a believer, your sins are placed away from you. You’re forgiven!
Satan would love for you and I to see ourselves through the lens of our old identity and sins. Satan loves to point back at our old life and say, “Why you’re not anything. You’re a drunk, a liar, a gossip, a cheat! You have been abused and used.”
At this point, you must say and embrace your identity in Christ. Tell yourself the truth, “I am saved, redeemed and I am bought by the blood of Christ. I am a daughter of God which trumps all other old labels and past sins!”
Finally, when our identity is in Christ, we no longer compete with others. Matter of fact we are freed up to cheer others on!
Freed Up to Cheer Others On
“12 … to share in the inheritance of His Holy people.”
We will share in the inheritance (the Kingdom treasures) that belong to believers. We will share with others. They will have inheritance in the Kingdom of God and so will I. There is no competition.
When I am secure in my identity in Christ, I can cheer others on. I don’t have to compete with them. I am freed up to live out my calling in life and not feel less than another. Now I can cheer people on in any realm I am in whether that be the gym, my church, others in ministry, in my extended family or in my neighborhood. I don’t have to drive myself into the ground being the best and competing with everyone or anyone, even other believers! I am free to live out my calling and identity in Christ.
Freedom Through Christ
Reflecting back on the freedom fighters in my lineage, I am happy, thrilled even, to know their blood runs through my veins. But I am even more grateful for the blood of Christ! Through him alone we can know true, eternal freedom.
By His blood shed on the cross on my behalf, I am freed from performance-based living. I am free from the authority of Satan, free from the mistakes of my past, and freed up to cheer others on! I am a child of God, a branch on the true vine, accepted and more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus, and so are you!