The following appeared in our local paper’s religion column last weekend. It is a revision of a previous post, “Love, not Law”. The paper re-titled it “What Complete Freedom Means.”
“Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).
Most Christians know that Christ has freed them somehow. What does freedom in Christ mean? In one sense, freedom is defined by what we are freed from. We can also consider what we are free to do. Galatians chapter five helps us see the borders of freedom.
Much of Galatians is devoted to describing the Christian’s relationship to the law of Moses. Paul makes it clear we no longer relate to God through keeping commandments and observing rituals. We are righteous because of Christ’s death, not because of our behavior. We live for God, not by our own willpower, but by faith in the Son of God who now lives within (Gal. 2:19-20).
When Paul says Christ has liberated us to be free, he is talking about our freedom from the law. Our life isn’t about following rules. Christ is our life. Ephesians 2:14-15 says it this way: “In His flesh, He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations….”
For some Christians, freedom in Christ means little more than freedom from rules. But Galatians goes on to show us the deeper significance of freedom: “For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.