There is a reason why mankind has struggled so aggressively for the hope of freedom. Freedom has been sought out from the time of Israels captivity all the way to modern day revolutions all around the world. This desire originates from the fact that God designed us to be free from both physical and spiritual bondage. It is in our DNA to seek after this liberation. However, true freedom doesnt always look the way we think it ought to. Unfortunately, it is because of sin that we have no ability in ourselves to be free. Today, we will look at the Apostle Pauls letter to Galatia about Gods rescuing us from bondage, our tendency to fall back into slavery and the importance of living in true spiritual freedom.
What does God say about freedom?
Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. NASB
1) The Cause
This freedom that Paul talks about is the freedom from the Law. Jews at this time had taken a yoke of the Law upon themselves for the achievement of good works in order to receive Gods mercy and forgiveness. Paul is stressing to his hearers that Christ came to remove that yoke because it ultimately leads to spiritual death. People were never meant to reach Gods standard of approval through their own merit. Thus, Jesus work on the cross brought freedom through His blood.
a) The yoke Paul speaks about is a metaphor of people who have coupled themselves in submission to something. That something is the Law. Jesus says in Matthew 11:30 My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
b) Submission to God is an absolute for living in spiritual freedom. We cannot carry the yoke of Christ unless we have put into subjection our will to His. James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. The word submit in this passage denotes our choice in surrendering and obedience to God.
The struggle with the church in Galatia was that the Christian Gentiles were falling into the trap of legalistic living of Judaism and disregarding the foundational doctrine of justification of sins through Jesus death on the cross. Paul makes it quite clear that spiritual freedom must prevail in our lives through faith and faith alone.
2. Slipping Back Again
Pauls audience was in the midst of slipping back into spiritual bondage. Even when they had seen miracles, experienced Gods power in their lives, been freed from sin and had a valiant leader teaching them... they still found a way to slip back into a yoke of slavery.
Numbers 14:2-4 After being delivered from Egypt, Israel encountered various trials and were maintaining course to the promised land but eventually they received bad news from the spies that came back from the promised land. The congregation of people grumbled and plotted to leave and return to their slavery in Egypt.
Today, we use the term backsliding for a Christian who has fallen back into habitual sin and is in rebellion towards God.
A misunderstanding of freedom can lead us to believe that real spiritual liberty is slavery and vice versa. Today, our culture feeds us the propaganda that godly morals and ethical living are tricks to keep you from experiencing true enlightenment. We must be on our guard to dismiss lies that would have us fall back into sin for the sake of fleshy freedom. We must be aware that Satan has been deceiving people since Adam and Eve about what real freedom is.
3) The Cost
The cost of being a slave to anything but Jesus is death (Gal 5:16-21).
The cost of holding onto the freedom of Jesus is high but it brings eternal life (Gal 5:22-25).
4) Todays Relation
Our spiritual freedom in Jesus is constantly under attack by the enemy. He attacks us in our weaknesses and where we have stumbled before. Slavery comes in many forms, but ultimately it is a stumbling block that keeps us from Jesus.
MediaAmerica is addicted to media: the internet, texting, TV, movies and video games.
Substance DependenceDrugs, alcohol, caffeine, sugar.
Temporary AttainmentsWork success, relationship status, buying something new at impulse.
LustGiving into the fleshy desires.
Obsession of SelfOur society teaches us to be obsessed with ourselves.
There is freedom to be found in Jesus. Every human has sinned, and every Christian will struggle with the temptation to fall back into their former lifestyle. The good news is that God has given us the tools to remain free from bondage.
1) The Holy SpiritJesus delivered and healed those who had faith in Him. The Holy Spirit is here to deliver and heal us from our sins.
2) PrayerNever doubt the power of prayer. God has and always will answer prayer.
3) AccountabilityWe are taught by the examples of the New Testament Church that community is a necessary aspect of our spiritual growth. Going to church every week doesnt guarantee accountability whereas meeting with a brother or sister and being honest about your life brings transformation.
4) Common SenseIf it causes you to stumble, get rid of it!
5) Faith, Not WorksA reality check that Paul exhorts over and over, it is not you who does good but He who is good in you.
We were made to be free. Free to live for the living God for His purposes and glory. We have the ability to accept the freedom He has offered; we have the ability to have faith in the work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus extends this gift to us no matter where we are, where we have been or where we are going. It is never too late to receive freedom. There is always, always, always hope.