I have been thinking about this subject recently in my private studies. A week ago, I spent the day in Galatians and the word 'freedom' and 'free' struck me as one that Paul uses frequently in relation to the gospel and the Christian life. It is noticeable too that in contrast to Galatians many Christians are not free and suffer much inner turmoil, secret sins, defeat, depression, addiction, failure and are pursued by lies of all kinds. Joy, one of the fruits of the Spirit and markers of new life, is also in dreadfully short supply in those who claim to follow Jesus.
Why is this?
Well, a few things have been helpful to me in answering this both in my own walk and in pastoring others. The journey we have been on with a number of other churches on how we are able to live free has been invaluable. We have rediscovered repentance, confession and the power of biblical truth. Next week, I continue this by attending the Jesus Ministry 2 conference and I will try and report on the things I learn.
I was also encouraged listening to Driscoll's series on Spiritual Warfare and fascinated by the talk Christos Victor which recounts his prayer encounters with the demonic and how similar in many ways his principles were to the prayer model we have been learning. This material is worth some attention if you are interested in a biblical view on this subject. I would commend listening to this whilst at the same time reading Death by Love and Clinton Arnold's Three Crucial Questions in Spiritual Warfare which lay out the role of the cross in pastoral work and a biblical framework.
This area is much neglected in the church and has often either been hijacked by Charismatic wackos or denied completely by powerless liberalism or cessationist conservatism. This needs our urgent attention in a world where the enemies activities have been given rule and reign for far too long because of our ignorance and complacency.
I hope these resources may help us redress the balance.