“We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.” Galatians 5:1 (NCV)
Are you free? We’re fortunate and blessed to live in a “free” nation! How grateful we are for those who have sacrificed their freedoms to provide for ours. We celebrate that every 4th of July. It’s a national holiday. We should never forget the price that others paid for the freedoms we enjoy. It’s tragic that so many today live in a “free” nation and yet, are not free. They are bound by hurts and habits and hang-ups that enslave them. Others are bound by legalism, trying to earn God’s favor through their achievements. The verse today was written to a people who didn’t have the privilege of living in such a free nation as ours. Many to whom this letter was written were slaves at worst and politically oppressed at best. They were hoping for a Messiah to come that would be a military king and liberate them from Roman oppression restoring the glory days when King David ruled Israel. Despite the political constraints, the Bible says, “We have freedom NOW!” That’s the Good News of the Gospel! “Christ made us free!” “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8:36 NIV) The shackles of the past have been broken! You are free in Christ! How is that possible? He set you free by breaking the power of sin that enslaved you and condemned you! The power of the cross sets the captives free! For the Christian, the cross is our Statue of Liberty! It was there that our souls were set free! But, freedom must be maintained! That’s why the Bible adds, “Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (NLT) This is the snare of religion! Having been set free by grace through faith, somehow, we begin to act as if we have to maintain that freedom through our human effort. Soon we fall from grace and begin trying to earn God’s favor and lose our freedom in Christ along the way. It’s not that grace has failed. We have! “Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.” To those who did, the Bible says, “How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (Galatians 3:3 NLT) If you find yourself slipping back into that works-based religion, shake off the shackles and stand strong in the freedom by which Christ has made you free! Celebrate it! It’s yours by the blood of Jesus Christ! Read Galatians this weekend. It’s the Magna Carta of Christian liberty!