Friday, April 18, 2008

Opportune Freedom

“Christ has liberated us into freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 CSB)

Many nations observe an “independence day,” or a day of liberation. America observes July 4th. China observes October 10th as its “liberation day.” However a nation may define it, they all celebrate freedom from something to something.

Paul spoke of freedom. He wrote to the Galatian churches about it, primarily because they were on the verge of throwing theirs away. Their churches had been invaded or infiltrated by false teachers who were telling them that faith in Christ is a good thing, but that that is not enough to save you. If you really want to be saved, you have to observe the Jewish law, they said. These Galatian believers, mostly Gentile, were unable to withstand this onslaught, and many began to buy into and submit to these teachings. So, Paul heard about it and, alarmed, wrote to combat this. He reminded them that they received God’s Spirit not by law but by faith. He instructed them that the law was like a school teacher; it instructed us until Christ came and completed it. He reminded us that Christ has liberated us from sin and from the power of the law, which is death. In Christ, we are fully and finally free, and, therefore, it makes no sense to revert to slavery.

Thus, Paul encourages us to walk by the Spirit in the freedom we have in Christ, to then demonstrate the power of that freedom to enable us to practice a right life before God. Freedom does not mean the opportunity to do anything we want to. Rather, it means that we have the opportunity to serve one another through love. Freedom is, thus, the opportunity to serve.

Lord, We thank You for setting us free, and we pray that we may live in this freedom fully in the ways You have intended. Amen.

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