I went to a wedding once that was for a couple of a different faith, and while it was both an interesting and enriching experience, what struck me the most from that day were those that I came into contact with who shared that faith. There seemed to be a spirit of oppression amongst them, and it broke my heart to see so many spiritual chains. It also made me fall to my knees in gratitude at the feet of the Lord. I found myself praising Him solely for the freedom that He has given to each of us through His son, Jesus Christ.
In Galatians 5:1, Paul writes, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” It is important to know that in the book of Galatians, Paul is writing to address that a group of people had come to Galatia preaching a “different gospel,” one that focused on Jesus + rules. These rules were binding and chaining, and many were falling to a life of faith by works. Thus, Paul encourages his readers – both then and now – that those who follow Jesus Christ are justified by faith, and that that faith is one of true freedom!
Do you hear that, brothers and sisters? We are FREE in Christ. We are not enslaved to our works; we are not chained by our sin; we are no longer held hostage by rules. We have been made free in the blood of the Lamb, only by the freedom that Christ so undeservedly brings us. And we need to stand firm in it. We cannot allow others, things, or expectations to enslave us, but rather allow the fullness of Christ’s freedom to envelop us!
But we also must stand guard against ourselves. In Galatians 5:13a, Paul goes on to say that, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature…” Simply put, we cannot use our freedom as an excuse to sin. We cannot use the grace and freedom that we receive from Christ to justify satisfying our sinful nature. “Rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13b). That is what real freedom looks like lived out: loving and serving one another. We must use our freedom to care for others that He brings into our lives.
My prayer is that we, as the body of Christ, would know deep in our hearts that we have been made free for the sake of true freedom, in order that we may love one another without abandon, and that all glory and praise goes to the Lord.