“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11, ESV).
Do the following words appeal to you? Life—joy—unselfconsciousness—delight—boldness—liberty. Can you imagine having this kind of enjoyment in your service to Christ? How can you obtain such empowering joy?
It will not come through works of righteousness. We do not have the power to be righteous on our own. We may do our best, strive our hardest, and sincerely offer to God all we have and all we are, but it still amounts to no more than filthy rags. “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6, ESV).
Freedom comes through Christ’s righteousness alone. When His righteousness becomes ours, we are set free from striving. His Spirit is in us, releasing us from the law of sin and guilt and making all things new. “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2, ESV).
That freedom is everything! It means liberty to carry out the godly responsibilities He calls us to do. Suddenly we are able to witness with abandon. We have a boldness that is not of our own making. Grace flows through us rather than a deadly, binding legalism.
There is only one way to walk in the freedom and joy Christ has won for us: by accepting His gift of righteousness. Doing this means embracing grace, not works. It does not mean shirking our responsibilities; on the contrary, coming under the covering of His grace is the only way to take on real responsibility. We cannot accomplish anything in His name otherwise!
“For you were called to freedom” (Galatians 5:13, ESV).