Jon Taylor – Lead Pastor
I hope you had a good time this last weekend celebrating our nation’s independence and freedom. I’m so thankful for the blessings and freedoms we enjoy in the US. There is something deep inside all of us that longs for freedom and to live unencumbered lives. Freedom was also a big part of the writings of the apostle Paul, but he wrote about spiritual freedom.
In Galatians 5:1 he writes, “It is for freedom that Christ sets us free.” What are we free from, and what are we free to do?
He writes that we are to, “stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again again by a yoke of slavery.” The first yoke of slavery we are free from is the slavery of legalism. Verses 1-12 are all about this point – don’t be a slave to legalism. We live in grace and are free from all of the legalistic bondage.
The second yoke of slavery we are free from is slavery to sin. In Romans 7:23, Paul wrote, “I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” We are not to use our freedom to indulge our flesh, but to be a slave to obedience to Christ instead. (Romans 6:16)
We are free from legalism and slavery to sin, and we are set free to serve one another. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Galatians 5:13-14) We are called to use our freedom not on what our flesh desires, but on what God desires – loving your neighbor as yourself! The fruit of our freedom is the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (vs. 22-25) There’s no law against demonstrating freedom in Christ by living out the fruit of the Spirit.
We’re also free to carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:1-2) We are free to encourage someone who is struggling. We are free to lift up someone who has fallen. We are free to teach someone who is immature. We are free to give to someone in need. We are free to show compassion to someone who is hurting. We are free to give hope to the hopeless. We are free to love the unlovely. We are free to build God’s Kingdom by loving our neighbor.
Now that’s true freedom! Live in this freedom everyday.