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“Bound” is an interesting word.

It can mean a limitation or a boundary.  It can also mean an enclosure, or a place with limits, as in “the bounds of the forest.”  It can also mean destined for a certain destination or result, as in “bound for school,” or “bound for happiness.” 

In our confessions, we describe being “captive to sin and unable to free ourselves.”  As people of God, we live within the limits of sin.  We are bound up.  We are trapped.  We are stuck.

  • We see this in the world around us, clearly broken
  • We feel this in challenging relationships, clearly broken
  • We suffer this in a world full of violence, clearly broken
  • We witness this when our siblings in Christ experience injustice, reminding us that we all live and participate in a world is clearly broken
  • We experience this when a virus binds our activities and our relationships.  The world is clearly broken 

Broken and bound.  But at the same time, we are free.

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

We live in the paradox of faith where we are bound up, captive to sin, but at the same time, we gifted with grace (freedom through Christ)

And within Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we are reminded that we do have power. We can choose to “stand firm,” and to resist submitting again to those things that bind us. But this only happens because it is the love of Christ that set us free in the first place. And Paul goes on to write:

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.  Galatians 5:13-15

As people who follow Jesus, the one who sets us free, we have the power (freedom) and the responsibility (law) to love and care for a broken world. The gift of freedom is what Paul writes about in his letter to the Ephesians when he describes God’s great, boundless love for all of us:

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:18-19.

There are no boundaries to God’s great love. There are no limits on who, when or where God chooses to love. And Jesus, the incarnation of God, came to cross all of the artificial boundaries that humans have created to fulfill the promise of God’s love.

Because of Jesus, we are free. Because of Jesus, we are boundless.

Questions we will answer at Extravaganza 2022:

  • What has changed?
  • What is still binding us?
  • Where is God calling us now?
  • How do we get there? What tools do we need to get there?
  • What releases us to move forward?
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