Religion vs. Freedom
I had the chance to present Galatians and preach at my home church this last Sunday. For those of you who weren't there, here’s the ultra-brief recap of how I setup the presentation:
Religion…God’s not a huge fan. (only mentions the words religion and religious 11 times in the whole Bible – and only twice in a positive light)
Freedom…God’s a really big fan. (mentions freedom, free, and freely 159 times)
After presenting Galatians we looked at a couple truths about the freedom that God offers us. The first is that we are free FROM the law. Truly free. We can’t “do enough” to make God happy. He knew that. That’s why He did it all. He also knows that our temptation is to forget that we are free and slowly revert back to the if-I-do-the-right-stuff-God-will-accept-me mentality. Galatians is a not-so-gentle reminder that 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. (Gal 5:1)
But our freedom is not just FROM something. It is also FOR something. Later on in Chapter 5, Paul says, But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The freedom we have from the chains of Churchianity is a freedom that must always manifest itself in greater service and love for others.
Do you have a hard time accepting the first truth? Have you ever stopped to think that God’s purpose for you all along has been your freedom? Do you really believe – and do you live like you believe – that God is more interested in you living abundantly and freely, than He is about your observance of religious “have to’s?”
And what about the second truth? Does the recognition of the grace and freedom that Christ has poured out to you pushed you toward greater service of others? How can you serve someone today out of the joy that comes from the freedom you have?
You are free. Smile like it’s true. Serve like it’s true.