Prisoners Set Free: The reward for trusting

I hear Jesus saying in today’s lingo, “Work with me here…I came to rescue you. To get you out of slavery and give you a life with all the privileges of a child of God. Trust me. I have the power to do it. Let me give you that life.”

Remember the story about the freed slaves who went back to their previous masters? Each one of us knows what chains hold us, what shackles restrict our lives. We know what has enslaved us. What might our lives look like if those chains were broken? What if we could walk out of our dungeon and into the fresh air and bright sunlight of a new day of freedom?

Christ, who is alive and working His mission in this world, promises that freedom to those who will believe Him and trust Him.

The apostle Peter wrote a letter to Christians who were going through really tough times and reminded them: You have a choice. Even though you can’t see Christ, you can choose to trust Him. And if you choose to trust Him, “the reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9).

Did you know the word salvation means rescue?

Peter goes on to say that this salvation/rescue is such exciting stuff that even the angels are eagerly watching as God’s plans unfold (see 1 Peter 1:12).

That word is for us, today. There is rescue for us. And even the angels are eager to see what will happen as Christ’s mission unfolds.

Doesn’t that start the adrenalin pumping… and the hope rising ?

We have a choice. If we choose to seek Christ today (He is alive!), trust Him, and believe in His power, exciting stuff awaits.

Christ came to rescue us from hopeless lives. He came to move us from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light.

That’s not just a promise for some far-off day; it is a promise for life here and now. His power works now to free those who will believe Him. He announced it clearly; this was His purpose in coming to earth and it is still His mission now. His Spirit comes into our lives to free us from things that restrain us, immobilize us, and shackle us. He comes to break all other powers and release us to live new lives.

We can trust Him to rescue of our hearts, souls, minds, and lives. We can walk out of our dungeons and away from our slavery, over a solid bridge of hope to a new life of freedom.

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Psalm Prayer:

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need…Set me free from my prison …
(Psalm 142:6a,7a NIV)

or

I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
(Psalm 13:6)

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If you want to soak up even more of God’s promises of freedom:

Psalm 34:4-5; Psalm 68:6; Psalm 77:14; Psalm 102:18-20; Psalm 107:10-16; Psalm 116:16; Psalm 146:7; Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; John 8:36; Romans 8:2; Galatians 1:4; Galatians 3:21-22; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:6-7; Colossians 1:11-14; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Peter 1:18-20; 2 Peter 2:19; Revelation 5:9

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Prisoners Set Free: Let’s be realistic

“That all sounds wonderful,” you might be thinking, “but let’s be realistic…

“No one can fix the mess I’m in.”
“I can never forgive her for what she’s done.”
“Nothing will ease this fear and anxiety.”
“No one can wipe out this pain.”
“I’ve tried. There’s no way I’ll ever break this addiction.”
“It just can’t happen for me.”

Freedom might seem an impossible dream. And the truth is, freedom is impossible if we do not have the power of Christ working wonders in our lives.

If we say, “Let’s be realistic,” shall we talk of the world’s “realistic”
or of God’s “realistic”?
What is God’s truth?
Because it is only what He says is true that can give us real hope.

The God who came to earth for the purpose of setting us free says He is “the God of great wonders” and the “God of all hope”.

If we could have shaken off our chains and escaped our gloomy dungeons on our own, there would have been no need for Christ to come to earth on His rescue mission. There would be no need for Him to be saying to you today, “I will set you free from your prison.”

But we cannot work it out on our own. All of us know that—we’ve tried, and we’ve failed miserably.

Remember His mission: “I’ve come to set prisoners free.”

Will we believe-live His message?

If He does not have the power to free us from every other thing that binds us, then His mission has failed. Then all other hopes are futile and foolish, and we might as well quit talking about hope right here and now.

But if He does have the power to free us, to demolish powers that enslave us … if that bridge of hope is there before us … then why not cry out to Him for rescue?

We also know that the Son did not come to help angels;
he came to help the descendants of Abraham.
(Hebrews 2:16)

That’s you and me. Because we need help. Without the Rescuer, we will always be slaves. But His mission is this: He comes into our lives to set us free to enjoy an inheritance, something far better than slavery.

He is the God of great wonders and the God of all hope. And He has the power to set prisoners free.

Will we believe Him?

This is our first step across the bridge of hope to freedom: Believe. Believe Christ is alive and He has the power to free us.

That’s God’s “realistic.”

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need…Set me free from my prison …
(Psalm 142:6a,7a NIV)

or

I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
(Psalm 13:6)

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Prisoners Set Free: Alive and carrying out the mission

Christ paid the ransom—He died a horrible death to give us freedom from all that would enslave us and rob us of life.

But His death was not the end of the story. It was only the beginning.

He did not stay in the grave.

I know this is the point where many people have difficulty believing, but this is also the key to all of Christian hope.

If Jesus’ death would have been the end, then indeed there would be little hope for us. All of the powers that oppose God and us, God’s beloved creation, would have won. Instead, Christ was given new life — a irrefutable statement by God that He does have the final say; He has supreme power.

Now Jesus Christ is alive and continues His mission. He is still all about rescuing those who look to Him for help. He has a new life to give each one of us — but we need to leave our slavery first. Freedom is the first step to that new life.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17)

Now, at this very time when people say gloomily that everything in this world looks hopeless, Jesus is alive and still carrying out His mission on this earth. His Spirit is at work, still freeing captives in every corner of His world so that God’s children can be who He created us to be.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need…Set me free from my prison …
(Psalm 142:6a,7a NIV)

or

I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
(Psalm 13:6)

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Prisoners Set Free: Ransom paid

“I’ve come to declare freedom and set captives free!”

These words were some of the first Jesus spoke publicly concerning His purpose on this earth. He did not say it then, but carrying out this mission — buying freedom for us and breaking prisons that hold us — would cost Him dearly. The price He would pay would be His own life and blood.

Several times He hinted at the ransom that would be required. Sometimes He said it outright: “I came…to give my life as a ransom for many” (see Mark 10:45). But even those closest to Him did not realize that in the end He must, literally, give up His life to accomplish what He came to do.

He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time (1 Timothy 2:6).

God’s compassion for His creation extended so far that He became a human being just like us. In human form, He walked into the kingdom of darkness where the devil rules and He accepted humiliation and eventually death — to rescue the people He loves. He was God, yet He was willing to be tortured and die as a human. That was the ransom to buy our freedom.

And now the ransom has been paid — and God offers freedom as a gift to everyone who will accept it.

It takes my breath away … That God loves us so much.

We certainly haven’t done anything to deserve it, but His love comes to every one of us and makes the offer … of freedom.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need…Set me free from my prison …
(Psalm 142:6a,7a NIV)

or

I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
(Psalm 13:6)

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Prisoners Set Free: He is the God Who rescues

My own story is outlined in Psalm 107; I’m guessing yours is there, too. If you take time to read the entire chapter thoughtfully, you might recognize yourself in one of the stories.

Seven verses (10-16) tell about prisoners sitting in “darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery.” They landed there through their own choices, yet when they called out to God for help, “he snapped their chains and…broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.”

Their own foolish choices landed them in prisons of misery. Finally, they called out to God for help.

His answer? Rescue!

Snap the chains! Break the prison gates! Cut the bars!

This has been the Creator’s character and His promise from the beginning of our time. We land in bondage (often by our own choice), but He has the power to break that bondage. He promises to bring us out of darkness and set us free to live in joy and great, expectant hope.

The question is: Will we call out to Him for help?

Generations before Jesus lived on earth, David knew God’s power; he knew God’s compassion. He wrote again and again in the psalms that the Lord “sets the prisoners free and gives them joy” (Psalm 68:6).

David knew that God’s character was to hear and respond to the cries of those in slavery, those imprisoned, those in chains and shackles. God meant His creation to live in joyful freedom. But when the human race chose to go its own way, it turned from God and walked right into slavery to many other things.

Yet God, in love and compassion, still comes to the rescue. He still offers freedom and joy.

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Psalm Prayer:

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need…Set me free from my prison …
(Psalm 142:6a,7a NIV)

or

I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
(Psalm 13:6)

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© Elaine Starner 2015