Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
An old pastor now with the Lord used to say, “Love God, and do what you want to do.” My pastor often confesses that while that pastor was alive, that statement never sat well with him. His thought was, “If you tell people that, they’ll get involved in all sorts of sin!” It wasn’t until after that older pastor was dead and gone that my pastor understood the wisdom of that statement. If you love God, you will desire to walk in obedience, AND you also enjoy great liberty in Christ. Do what you want because love will guide you to enjoy your freedom in the Lord while never deviating from a life of obedience to Him!
“Freedom” is what the Geek word “remission” means in our text above. When Christ preached from Isaiah in Lk 4:18, He described His ministry as follows: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…” He came to set captives free, and “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”! (Jn 8:36)
When Jesus told the Jews of His day they were in bondage, they responded, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone.” (Jn 8:33) They failed to realize that bondage is the state in which all men are born and that Christ’s work alone can “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb 2:15) It is the fear of death that keeps man in bondage, and 1 Cor 15:56 says, “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” Because of the demands of the law coupled with the weakness of our flesh, man is born bound, never able to satisfy the holy God that expects righteousness. But, where we fell short, Christ excelled!! When the Father looked upon that sinless sacrifice, for the first time His righteous requirement was satisfied! “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.” (Is 53:11)
If you are covered by that sacrifice, the Father no longer sees your work of sin but instead Christ’s work of righteousness! Just listen to the freedom we now enjoy in the Lord!
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom 8:1-4)
There is NOW no condemnation! Hallelujah!!! You have been set free by the Son, brethren! God’s commandments don’t scare us. We delight in them! (Ps 1:2) “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor 3:17) Enjoy that freedom you now have in Christ, and don’t let anyone take it from you. Even today, there are those among us that Paul warned the Galatians about–“false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage)…” (Gal 2:4) They would enslave Christ’s bride again, pushing her to add to the finished work of Christ by seeking acceptance with God by maintaining their list of do’s and don’ts. We must be careful to “stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Gal 5:1) Jesus’ work makes us acceptable to God, not any work of our own! So, as the old pastor said, “Love God, and do what you want to do!” You are led by the Spirit of God which will always lead you in “the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (Ps 23:3) “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13)