The Privilege and Cost
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery . . . For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”—Galatians 5:1, 13-14.
Too many Christians think freedom is all about being able to do whatever they want. This is almost the ultimate cry of our culture. I have to be free because if I can exercise true freedom, then I will be truly happy. This is a lie! This sort of pursuit of freedom will never lead to real freedom but rather deadly slavery (Romans 1).
Biblical freedom is not the ability to do anything we want. Biblical freedom is the ability and desire to be what God created us to be and to do what God created us to do. It’s all about what God wants for us, not what we want.
Paul says in 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free.” In salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ, we have been set free from slavery to sin, the wrath of God due to our sin, hopelessness and helplessness, spiritual blindness and much more.
The famous words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should be the constant cry of every Christian. “Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!” God has set us free at the indescribable personal cost of His own Son. For what did He set us free? To run back into slavery by exercising our new freedom to do whatever we want? Paul says, absolutely not!
Why have we been set free? Certainly first and foremost for God’s glory. But how does our freedom bring Him glory? Paul tells us in verse 13. “Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” If only this belief characterized the North American church, what different character and power the church would have.
We are set free by Jesus Christ to use our freedom as we voluntarily enslave ourselves in service of others. Do you see it? God set us free at salvation so we could devote ourselves to loving and serving God through our love and service to others. That’s biblical freedom.
Our problem is we think this means a loss. We think, “I must use my freedom to do what I want. Then I will find all I am longing for.” That’s so wrong! We must exercise our freedom to be what God created us to be and to do what God created us to do; give ourselves in loving service to God and others. Then we will experience the true results of real freedom.
What do I consider freedom?
What does biblical freedom look like in my life?
Father, You paid such a high price to set me free. Forgive me for living as though freedom had to do with my desires. Looking back over my life, it is obvious that the times when I was happiest and most at peace were those times I was in service to You, living as You desire. Help me redefine my view of freedom, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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