“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” -1 John 4:4
The experience of salvation must be freeing. If your experience is not freeing, your experience is not salvation. In order to set you free, salvation does three things to you:
- salvation removes your burden of guilt,
- salvation changes–sanctifies–your desires, and
- salvation empowers you to achieve your new, sanctified desires.
Why do you need those three things to happen to you in order to be free?
Salvation removes your burden of guilt
This is the ultimate prerequisite for freedom. No one is free with a guilty conscience. And this was achieved when Jesus died for your sins and God resurrected him. Promise yourself that Jesus actually came like described in the scriptures, and you’re guilt has to go away.
Salvation sanctifies your desires
I think John Piper once said something along the lines of this: “freedom is when you can do what you want to do, and not be damned to hell for it.” He was making the point that true freedom comes when what you want to do (and what you can do) aligns with what you ought to do.
Salvation empowers you to achieve your sanctified desires
All through it, scripture promises you that you can live the way you ought to live: “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Even the Ten Commandments–what some think legalistic–promise it. Check out this explanation from Skip MacCarty’s In Granite or Ingrained:
A second, complimentary model of the law, “embedded in the very grammatical structure of the Decalogue,” also supports an experiential understanding of Galations 3:22-25. Davidson points out that the grammatical form of the original Hebrew construction of the Ten Commandments allows for them to be understood either in their traditional portrayal as commands (“emphatic imperative”) or as promises (“emphatic promise”). Thus, “while it is possible to interpret the commandments as prohibitions, we can also interpret them as divine promises. For those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, it is no longer the command ‘You may not have any other gods before Me,’ but instead, the promise ‘You will not have any other gods before Me.’ You will not make any graven images, you will not take My name in vain. I promise you! You will no longer want to do those things that interrupt our intimate personal relationship.”
You can’t have the One that is greater than the one in the world living in you, and still be burdened by guilt, enslaved to sinful desires, and incapable of doing what you ought to do. No, when the One is living in you, you overcome all of that. And you find freedom.