Friday, July 6, 2007

Freedom

There's a great song out there by Darrel Evans called Freedom that has this lyric in it where we sing "I'm free." The song is based on 2 Corinthians 3:17; "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." What does it mean though, to be free, and do we actually live in that freedom? Personally, I often feel rather restricted and bound in my day to day Christian living, and often resonate more with Paul's words in Romans 7; "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing..." And yet I know that it is true that Christ has set us free. So, what does this freedom in Christ look like?

We all know that Galatians 5:1 says "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free," but free from what? Look at Galatians 4:8-10. Here, Paul is stressing the point that it is useless to pursue principles over knowing God. In fact, in verse 9 he states, "But now that you know God - or rather are known by God - how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?"

God's will was never for man to follow a set of rules and principles. I just came across this book called 101 Things You Should do Before You Go to Heaven. Now I confess, I've never read this book and it may be great. However, just the title alone seems to be misguided. Christianity is not meant to be a "system of living" or a "code of living." This is one of the things that sets Christianity apart from all other religions. God is after a relationship! So why does the law exist? The law is simply there to show us our sin and our need of God. Now that doesn't give us license to sin (5:16b) but it should free you from the yoke of "principle centered religion." God wants relationship.

Later in chapter 4, Paul tells a story of Hagar and Sarah which is meant to be taken figuratively (verse 24). The purpose of this story is stated in verse 31; "Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman." Immediately after that, we read, "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." Paul continues on in chapter 5 to speak against those who elevate the keeping of the law, (circumcision in this case), above knowing God. He sums things up in verse 6 when he states "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

The point is this! Our justification does not come from "keeping the law" or from "things we do." It doesn't matter how good you are. Let me say that again; IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW GOOD YOU ARE! Our justification comes from Christ and following after Him. My prayer for you is that you would know who you are! You are free! "You, my brothers, were called to be free" (5:13). Live in such a way that you passionately pursue an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, and live in freedom.

Coming next: "so what about good works then?"

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