“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
We are so easily moved away from freedom in Christ. Surely, we think, we must behave and earn something… But to Paul, freedom was the central and only part of Christianity.
“Now that he had found true freedom in Christ it was the incessant theme of his every thought… This freedom wasn’t simply a preference for him; it was the very heart of the gospel. He had been a slave – to sin and the law – and now he was free.”
We realize, however, that life is war; war against sin. “Yes, the Christian life is war, but it’s not only a battle against slavery to sin. It’s also a battle against slavery to the law. There are two fronts in our war to maintain freedom: the obvious one against sin and the hidden one against works-righteousness. Most of us have missed that second war entirely, haven’t we? Two wars? A war against slavery to good works?”
The church in Galatia had forgotten the second war and slid back into legalism. Paul recognized Satan’s schemes and aggressively calls the church out for this error. He tells us of the better way of freedom.
“The one possibility that Satan dreads is that we might discover the priceless freedom Christ purchased for us. He fears this liberty because he knows that it is only by the Spirit, by faith and not by works, that we triumph over sin. Our freedom in Christ is a foil to all his schemes. So, Paul writes, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Hear the promise implicit in that verse. Walk in freedom and faith, live in the light of the Spirit; don’t rely on your good works, and you will not gratify fleshly cravings.”
“The Spirit knows that what I need isn’t more rules; it’s freedom, because the motive and power to obey is always absent in slaves. Slaves have no hope; they resent their masters, and they will always escape if given the opportunity. On the other hand, adopted children who are freely loved will choose to serve out of astonishment at their father’s generosity and their undeserved liberty. Such powerful love endues them to fight against every desire that might displease their father. Slaves don’t love; children do.”
Today, cling to freedom. Love.
Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 17.