Sunday 31st March, 2019
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Hymn of meditation: PH 322
To you Lord I come, my Father,
At your Throne, I bow, O God.
Tears and pleadings of Your children,
I present to You, O Christ.
Grant me audience, let me find You,
Flesh and blood, though I am Lord.
INDEPENDENCE is a state of being able to do things for yourself, being able to make your own decision without relying on anyone else. We all desire to be autonomous, to have our liberty and do things without restriction. So, often, when children get admission into the boarding houses, they go happy because they realize they won’t be under strict parental influence anymore. They feel free!
Per the Constitution, at the age of 18, the child is deemed matured and independent to make his/her own decisions so they choose to rebel sometimes and eventually veer off the route of righteousness.
In our country, Ghana, it’s been 62 years since we attained independence from British rule, but can we really say we have gained freedom, looking at the level of borrowing and dependency on external sources? In a way, we are still in our slavery era.
Slavery is any system in which an individual is denied the right to make his own decisions. The slaves do a lot of work without proper remuneration and appreciation. Beloved, those who seek independence do not seek counsel from their master as Isaiah 30:1 teaches;
“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin”
This attitude is a violation of the will of God. Rebellion withdraws people from God and makes them slaves to sin.
Our third reading speaks of a young man who desired to be independent and therefore asked his father to give him his inheritance while the father was still alive. He felt he could manage his own affair, he felt the pressure at home was too much; that he was being used and needed to go out.
As Christians, we need to be under the shadow of our God. We need to believe in our God so that He can take care of us. The prodigal son was certain that life was going to be better; hence he collected his inheritance and went to a far distance where no one could see him and instruct him.
Beloved when we cross God’s ethic, moral and religious boundaries and mingles with the world, we must know that true happiness does not lie in having all the wonderful things of the world like the cars, money etc. You may have all these and still not have the freedom you desire.
The prodigal son’s pleasures lasted only for a while because he lost everything. He even had to attend to swine and try to share in their food meanwhile he was an heir in his father’s home. One thing we must note carefully is that, choosing to backslide with the hopes of making it, is rather going to cause us a great deal. God is our source of everything.
The absence of God leaves a spiritual emptiness in us that the worldly pleasure cannot satisfy. The more we struggle to satisfy ourselves, the more we sink into degrading personal condition because we control our own lives.
Today human rights have taken over morality, some of which are sinful desires; talk of gay rights and the like.
Beloved in the Lord, independent thinking is not wrong. There are times that we have to think and make independent decisions from our parents, teachers and elders but a life of independence from God can only be sinful, a life separate from His love, fellowship and authority. True independence comes only by totally surrendering our will to God.
Having realized the situation, the gentleman returned to his father. This stage reminds us of backsliders who decide to turn from their wickedness and run back to God. The prodigal son was a long way out when the father saw him from afar. He run and welcomed the son and had compassion on him. Scripture says he confessed his sins and asked for forgiveness which pleased the father.
God sometimes permits His children to wander around for a reason; He is not a bully who uses force to bring us into submission. He doesn’t try to break our will but calls us to Himself so we can offer it freely to Him.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
The background of the scripture is provided in Luke 15:1-2
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
The scribes thought it was inappropriate for the Godly and non-godly to mingle. The parable teaches us how well the Lord loves us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. In whatever situation we find ourselves as sinners, God is ever prepared to accept us. He will make us new and take away our old nature.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
No matter the magnitude of your sins, when we repent and confess, God is faithful and just to forgive us. He is prepared to make us His children like He did Israel in the third reading from Luke 15:11-32. He called for circumcision to indicate that He has completed separated them from their sins and past, considering their history in Egypt and through the promised-land. Even though the group that finally moved into the land never experienced Egypt, they understood and all saw the need to deal with the past happenings. In Gilgal, the manner stopped and they begun to feed on the actual fruits of the land. When we sin and repent. It brings us back to Him and re assures us of the good thing of life from God.
Life without Christ is crisis. Even the knowledge to work to gain what we own is all given by God so we must use it in the way that will bring Him back the glory.
- If God is not on our side to give us the freedom to live, life will forever be fruitless.
- We must not depart from Him.
- We must keep in step with Him all the way.
- Come back, brethren and be with your God
Jesus has freed us from the slavery of sin. Our real independence came many years ago when Christ cried out with a loud voice and said “It is finished”. His atonement work on the cross has brought us freedom to those who believe. This freedom, however, is yet to be seen in the lives of many people.
Let us live as children of God, holy and blameless.