Last week, I wrote about the Christian roots that gave birth to a nation founded on the concept of freedom. Because all human beings are made in the image of God, we are endowed by our glorious Creator with the inarguable rights of not only life and liberty, but also the right to seek out our spiritual wholeness.
This week, let’s take a look at an absolutely astounding verse on the subject of freedom written by the apostle Paul. Here’s Galatians 5:1:
“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.” (NIV)
Christ has set us free specifically for freedom. (Cue the fireworks!)
Now, there’s no doubt the human soul longs for freedom. All of human history is a long story of people yearning to be free. It’s written on the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
So, what specifically did Jesus set us free from?
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (NLT)
We have been freed from all condemnation, and from sin and death!
“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” (NLT)
We could not fulfill the law. Not one of us. And so, we were as hopelessly trapped in slavery to sin as the ancient children of Israel were trapped in slavery to Pharaoh. But Jesus could and did fulfill the law, just as He said He would in Matthew 5:17. Jesus took the curse of sin on Himself and died as the perfect, sinless lamb that fulfilled the Law once and for all. But unlike the human king Pharaoh, our eternal and heavenly King Jesus defeated death and the grave by rising from the dead and leaving behind an empty tomb and purchasing for us freedom both in life and in death!
So, if Jesus fulfilled the law and we have this new and glorious freedom by His amazing grace, does that give us the freedom to sin without repercussion? Romans 6:1&2:
“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (NLT)
But, if I have been set free from the power of sin, how do I cope with temptation? Take it away, Paul! Galatians 5:16-24:
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. (NLT)
AMEN! (Cue the big Holy Spirit fireworks finale!)
Galatians 2: 17:18
But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down.