I watched the First Minister speaking at her Covid briefing today. Although the briefing was low key and contained no major new announcements the tone was very positive. The Scottish Government clearly feel optimistic that restrictions may be further eased on 9th August as we move “beyond level 0”.
We await the detail of course, particularly as it relates to churches. We’ll keep you fully up to date with new information and let you know any changes which affect our congregation just as soon as we can.
In some parts of the UK this lifting of restrictions has already happened and has been dubbed “Freedom Day”. In some ways this is an appropriate term since (in England at least) all legal restrictions have been removed. At the same time however, many are learning that the journey out of Covid is a long process not a single moment.
Whatever happens here in Scotland BOTH concepts – ‘Freedom Day’ AND the long slow journey out of lockdown have something important to remind us about the Gospel and it’s effects.
The moment we trust in Jesus is our Freedom Day. We call this justification. Believing in Christ and receiving him as Saviour and Lord means we are “born again” (John 3:3), straight away we become a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). Through his death in our place Jesus has “canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14). The gospel brings an instant Freedom Day – the legal case against us in God’s courtroom immediately falls away. No more legal restriction or debt remains because Christ has both paid for our sin and credited his righteousness to our account! Isn’t it wonderful?
And yet it is also true that the Christian life is a long (often slow) process. We call this sanctification. Yes, we have been declared legally righteous before God through Christ – but now begins the long, slow process of change in our hearts, lives and actions. This change never happens alone. First and foremost it is change that is enabled and empowered by God himself who sends his Holy Spirit to live in us. We also change together – the church is the family of faith in which disciples are made and grown. That’s one reason we’re so keen for every person in our church family to get involved in a Small Group for Bible study and fellowship when they restart (watch this space – and the restrictions!)
So is the Christian life a freedom day or a long and winding road? The answer is both!
Whatever happens with Covid restrictions you can know that, if you belong to Jesus, your true and lasting freedom day has come, and the last 18 months – tough as they have been – are another part of God’s process to sanctify and change us more and moe into the likeness of his Son, the Lord Jesus himself. With every blessing Peter Minister, Burghead Free Church Scottish Reg. Charity No. SC038129
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