“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.”- Galatians 5:1
Years ago, a young couple I knew had their sights set on owning a home. Based on their big dream, they made the decision to move out of the area to a city with more affordable housing. They quickly discovered their dream came at a hefty price: being further away from family/friends; more extreme weather; and a considerably longer commute to work. On top of that, the home loan was so high that they had little flexibility to maneuver or adjust. In other words, they were TRAPPED.
Whether it is being stuck in a bad loan, a bad job, or bad traffic (yes that also returned since COVID), the feeling of being trapped is not fun at all. As we celebrated the 4th of July last week and are getting ready to begin a summer series in the Book of Galatians, I want us to focus our sights on the awesome FREEDOM we have in Jesus. This amazing letter from Paul details the fullness of Christ’s Gospel and the freedom the Holy Spirit delivers. Later, in the same above-mentioned chapter, Paul writes, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Verse 25). As Paul is writing to this church in 1st Century AD, he is pointing the Galatians to God and warning of the many traps that seek to keep them from Him. They were not to be controlled by temptations and flesh desires; they were not to be swayed by the cultures and idols of this world; and they were not to be intimidated by enemies or rulers.
Two words need to be highlighted from the opening verse in Galatians 5. The first word is “freedom”. It is the work of Christ to set us free from slavery. We are no longer bound by fear, sin, or death. Romans 8:2 declares, “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” The second word is how we must respond to the freedom purchased for and delivered to us. We are called to “stand” in this new life of freedom. Just as Israel was not to go back to Egypt; the healed lame man was not to go back to his infirmity mat; and the followers of Jesus were not to go back to doing faith by observing the law; we are not to go back to old patterns of sin, former ways of thinking, or following after the pleasures and pursuits of this world. Today we must choose between the old or the new, freedom or fear, walking in the Spirit or the flesh. In Galatians 3:3 Paul reminds us to stay on the freedom trail, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”
The plan of God is for His people to be marked by a life of faith, worship, and victory. Freedom is His gift, allow it to be your strength to stand in this season!