Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Freed from all Charges!


Acts 13:38-39  “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.



Paul and his band had gotten as far as the city of Antioch which is in modern day Turkey.  There was a Jewish synagogue there.  Paul and his band went there on the Sabbath and “sat down.”  The leaders of the synagogue asked them if they had a word of exhortation for the people.  Paul did and he explained to them how that Christ was from the lineage of David, that he had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah and that He had been rejected and crucified by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.  However, God had raised him from the dead and now all that believed in Him were justified FROM ALL THINGS,   something that the Old Testament law could not do.


Justification is being freed from all charges

What does it mean to be justified?  Apparently this is a legal term and means to be “freed from all charges that are against you.”  The judge is declaring that the charges are dropped.  Those who are in prison are to be freed.  God does this righteously by allowing the penalty of our sin to be borne by another—that is, by the Lord Jesus Christ.  We who are in bondage to sin and have charge after charge laid against us can be righteously declared free from all charges by God, but there is one condition.  We must trust in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord.  The law shows us our sin and continues to lay additional charges against us.  But Christ, the sin bearer, wants to free us from all charges. 


I am sure that there are people in our prisons who wish that they could be freed from the charges against them, because then they would be freed from prison.  Our system of justice does not allow for the kind of justification that God’s system of justice allows.  Think of it, we who believe have been declared free from ALL charges against us.  The Lord stepped in and bore the punishment we deserved so our justification does not overlook sin, but it provides a righteous way to be forgiven and freed from the charges. 


What does it mean to believe?

What, then, does this verse mean when it says all who BELIEVE are justified from all things?  We have to look at other Scripture to get a full understanding of the Biblical concept.  It certainly does not mean to believe about the Lord.  Many people do that without actually trusting Him.  Many religions and Christian groups believe about Jesus but do not accept Him as the Messiah.  They do not accept the fact that Christ is the full manifestation of God.  Until they change their minds on those issues, they have believed about Him and not trusted in Him.  As such they are not justified. Believing in the Lord certainly doesn’t allow us to pick and choose which parts of the divine record we want to believe and which parts we don’t. 


Today, because two thousand years have elapsed since the New Testament was written down and because the Old Testament was written down many years before that, we have a hard time understanding the way some of the authors of the Biblical record expressed themselves.  The Bible was not written in English with American logic and with our high school teachers teaching about topic sentences and about English rules of grammar.  So it is hard for us to understand the random nature of time in some of the written record.  We have a hard time discerning between what is allegorical and what is literal.  We have a hard time understanding the idioms of the day.  But while we have a hard time understanding some of these things, to believe requires us to accept all that is written.  It does not require us to understand all that is written.  But people who accept the Gospels but who don’t accept the writings of Paul (and there are people like that) could not accept our present verses, because they were spoken by Paul and written down by Luke. Peter tells us that Paul’s writing are Scripture even though some of his writings are hard to understand (See 2 Peter 3:15:16).


I believe in the Biblical account of creation and in the Biblical events associated with the flood.  I believe that a great fish swallowed Jonah.  I believe that Christ was raised from the dead.  I believe in the miracles of the Bible.  The written record tells us all we need to know but it doesn’t tell us all that we want to know about some of these things.  However, I am sure that the written record, properly interpreted, will prove to have been accurate when we finally get full understanding in heaven.


When it comes to this passage, I believe that the plain sense makes sense and I seek no other sense.  I am banking on the fact that what Paul said, God meant.  And that is so freeing. 


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of July 5, 2015

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