Over the past few weeks, we have been going through the sermon series “Let Us…” based on the three statements found in Hebrews 4. The “Let us” statements are there to encourage us to live out our Christian life to its full potential.
Through my reflection on these two words, I believe the Lord was bringing a warning for me as the Pastor to not drive the church into a set of obligations—those things you must do or forced to do to achieve a certain result.
Obligations without relationship drives anyone to live the Christian life in bondage. Being bound to do something that could potentially create guilt if we don’t do it.
I grew up in church under this blanket of guilt. Living this way under such bondage became very exhausting.
Guilt actually make us slaves. We become slaves to the decisions we make, slaves to our actions and to our sin. Living this way, we have lost our freedom. Why is it that we allow ourselves to be burdened again by slavery to guilt instead of living in the freedom that Christ has freely given?
In the final chapters of Galatians, Paul starts to encourage in a practical way to live this life in Christ. He starts with a statement in Galatians 5:1 that is very explicit and must define our life we now have in Christ.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
The problem some have with freedom.
“Your doctrine of grace and freedom is dangerous!” The agitators argued. “If Christians are free from the Law, they will live wicked lives! We need the Law to control them!”
This argument has been carried down through the centuries, little realising that grace, not law, is the greatest teacher and “controller” in the world.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:11-12
We must not think that our freedom is a licence to do whatever we want or a permission to go on sinning. If we fully understand all Jesus has done for us and convinced of the relationship we now have with Him—why would we want to continue to live in the old way? We are saved from that and it’s through God’s grace we have this freedom.
Live in freedom and stand firm in Christ.
Jesus’ death on the cross has once and for all set us free. If you are in Christ, you have freedom. Christ set the Galatians free and continues to set us free from religious legalism.
Following rules does not bring us into right relationship with God. This is religious bondage. True freedom is not based on rules, but on a relationship – a loving personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We are free because of Jesus, not because of anything else.
The Apostle Paul grew up Jewish, so he knew the Jewish law and followed all the rules. Once he converted to Christianity, he gained freedom from the Jewish law.
He would have known the burden of living under the law, and then he would have experienced the opposite by living free in Christ. He would have spent his whole life trying to be a good Jewish boy, trying to be perfect and sinless. But this was impossible because we are sinful people who need a Saviour.
True freedom is not about being sinless but is about Jesus. Yet, even as believers, there are a lot of us living in chains.
Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1 that we can’t earn freedom. We can’t do more to be free. Here we have a very good illustration of the difference between law and grace.
The law would say: “If you earn your freedom, you will become free.” But grace says: “You have been made free at the tremendous cost of the death of Christ.
Whatever you’re struggling with, know that you are NOT the one who provides freedom. You cannot gain freedom by working harder.
Let’s live in freedom, but to do this, we must stand firm in Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
This is one of my favourite verses at the moment—the declaration we should all make—that we will stand firm, letting nothing move us from the freedom we have in Jesus. Our commitment to following Jesus is giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.
How many people do we know, who need this freedom that we have in Christ? Let’s not allow them to continue to live in this bondage by doing the Lord’s work to let everyone know who He is and what He has done for them.
Stay living in freedom and make Christ known starting this month!