July 05, 2011

Freedom! III

Tonight is the last part of this mini series, but it has been a good study, so I hope to do more on it in the future with more biblical extrapolation.  (Good word huh?!)

Tonight, I want to deal with Galatians 5:1.  There is a reason I saved this for last.  If you take the verse at face value, you have an excuse to do what ever you want claiming God's grace and blessing.  This isn't to mean flagrant sin, it's to mean any personal or selfish desire whether it be secular or even labeled ministry.  Paul didn't have any flagrant sinful behavior in mind when He wrote this, that was discussed in Romans; but, he did have religious piety and self-righteous attitude towards salvation in mind.


In Galatians, Paul is writing to the early Church which is struggling to understand how this new faith allows Jewish believers and non-Jewish believers alike to live a holy life in regards to the requirements of the law of God's chosen people Israel.  After a lengthy discourse describing the supremecy of the promise of salvation over the law given afterwards, and the figurative supremacy of the free woman and her children over the slave woman and her children, Paul writes:
"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."  Galatians 5:1

The slavery here is a slavery of religious performance.  Having to perform to earn or merit salvation.  We no longer have to perform religiously to merit God's grace. It doesn't mean that we can simply do whatever we want as Christians and call it ministry or God-ordained.  That's not the freedom we are given. Remember the other text we looked at this week?  This verse clearly cannot go against what the Bible says elsewhere.

As we saw this week, True Freedom comes not from an ignorance, or naivety to all of God's law, but through a deep understanding of it.  A "looking intently" into it.  , but here's the thing ( I have to keep this brief), an "intently looking" into God's Word does not bind us up in puffed up knowledge or a burden of legalistic rituals and having to perform, the deep exploration of the Word reveals to those who pursue it, the complete and total necessity of all of God's law to be met in our lives - then we see the impossibility of accomplishing it - and then we see it completely accomplished in Christ.  The only way we can experience the freedom from this burden is to actually accomplish the perfection required.  But it's impossible!!  That's why Christ credits His righteousness to us!  We are IN Christ!

When we say Free in Christ, we don't mean a blissful ignorance, we mean a deep understanding of what has occurred and a grateful response to it (remember Psalm 119). 
Please don't be fooled, there are directions in God's Holy and timeless Word that are meant for us to DO - not for salvation - but for His purposes.  God had a purpose for His Church bringing Jews and Gentiles together in Christ, but the Jews were having a hard time with this and were actually working against God's plan because of their propensity to the law.  Paul had to remind them to get on Christ's program, not on the program of those who couldn't understand the true ramifications of Grace.  
If we claim Freedom in Christ and we pursue those directions according to His perfect counsel, then we experience the Freedom of working WITH GOD and not against Him.  I hope that is mind blowing on some level to you,  It is for me.  Do you know that kind of freedom in your daily living? Do you have that type of confidence in your walk?
I encourage you that if you claim freedom in Christ, but you have no idea what God's plan is for your life, you need to start digging into the Word.  It's not bad to not know His plan for your life, but it is bad, I think, to have "no idea".  The Bible gives us too much info to have no idea.

Think about all the verses together.  There is a reason I built on them in this order.  Do you know the freedom of living daily with God (as opposed to against Him), based on a confidence in your relationship with Him as His child?  And is that based on an equally vibrant relationship with His Word?  This is Image Bearing life.

Are you a freed Image Bearer?


With you for His Glory