It was for freedom that Christ set us free
Galatians 5:1-12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
2 Look! I, Paul, tell you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who has himself circumcised, that he is obligated to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by the Law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we, through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. 10 I have confidence in you in the Lord, that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear the punishment, whoever he is. 11 But as for me, brothers and sisters, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been eliminated. 12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even emasculate themselves.
Many people who reject the Christian faith do so because they believe it is restrictive and limiting. They believe that to be a Christian they must give up their freedom to do what they want. Today’s text says: It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. In John 8:36 Jesus says: “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Romans 6:16-23 says: Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and after being freed from sin, you became slaves to righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented the parts of your body as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your body’s parts as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in relation to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is sin that enslaves us. Sin is a cruel and wicked taskmaster. A person will never be satisfied by sin. Like an addict, they will always return for more. Psalm 37:4 says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. We are free from selfish desires when we are saved by Christ, because in Him, we have all that we want and all that we need. In Christ, we are free from striving, free from anxiety and fear. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
The text says: You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. We need to recognize that it is not just immorality that is sin. James 3:2 says: We all stumble in many ways. It only takes a little of the things we stumble over to work there way into our lives for us to again become slaves to sin. Look at the list of sins that lead to death in Revelation 21:5-8: “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” The word cowardly can also be translated fearful. To be fearful and unbelieving is a sin. Fear is really the opposite of faith. It is believing more in what we don’t want to happen than in what we want to happen. Romans 10:17 says: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. When we begin to get our information from the world, rather than from God’s word, fear and doubt creep in. If we continue on that path, we become fearful and unbelieving. It is not the size or amount of our faith that matters. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says: “Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” It is not the size of our faith that matters, but rather the object of our faith. We need only a small amount of faith in a great big omnipotent God to overcome fear and unbelief. When we get our information from God’s word, we see how great our God truly is. Romans 8:31-39 says: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring charges against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, but rather, was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or trouble, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
May this song be our prayer and declaration today.