Free In Christ

The season of Thanksgiving is a time for reflection about the many blessings we have in our life. What am I thankful on this day after Thanksgiving? Spiritual freedom!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

Free in Christ! That’s what we are. Free men and women, boys and girls. Freedom is a great theme in Paul’s writings. Earlier in his letter to the Galatians, he wrote: “And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage).” (Galatians 2:4). What was Paul talking about? Members of the Jewish congregation in Jerusalem had heard about Paul’s teaching that Jews and Gentiles did not have to be circumcised any longer. They no longer had to obey the Law of Moses. This angered and frustrated many. Several went to Antioch to see for themselves. Some of the Jews taught the Gentile Christians that “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1) Paul went with the Jews to Jerusalem to set the record straight.

Paul understood what it was to be a slave to sin. He knew all people were dead in their sins and could only follow the ways of the world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air. He knew they could only gratify the cravings of their sinful nature and follow its desires and thoughts. (Ephesians 2:1-3) That’s the “natural” way of things. Paul also knew that in Christ people were set free from sin and had become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18) Paul understood clearly why God had saved us: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (NIV)

God does not want us to be slaves to sin any longer. There’s no need for it. We are FREE! Why would a former slave want to taste freedom and then run back to the shackles that once held him? Why? Doesn’t make any sense. But that’s exactly what Christians around the world do every day. They put themselves back into slavery. How? By believing the lies of Satan and the world. Too many Christians believe they aren’t good enough for God, that they don’t do enough for God, that God isn’t pleased with them unless they do certain religious things, that other Christians are better than them, that God will judge them if they don’t do the things other Christians tell them to do. As Paul wrote, “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.” (Galatians 5:7-8)

Jesus told His disciples:

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:31-32

The disciples were free within the framework of holding to Christ’s teaching. They would know even more freedom when the Spirit of God came into them later. Today we are free within the framework of God’s Love and Grace. We have received “every spiritual blessing” because we are in Christ and He is in us, not because of something we’ve done. The problems come into Christians’ lives as they put themselves back under the Law. God doesn’t put us under the Law. We do it to ourselves. Paul told the Galatian Christians:

“Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

Galatians 5:2-4

Grace is about Freedom, Love and Joy. Law is about slavery, guilt and fear.

Christians feel guilt and defeat every day of their lives because of the lies of the world and, unfortunately, other Christians. Look at what Paul wrote:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Romans 8:1-2

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Far too many Christians are convinced they can approach God only through a particular doctrine, ministry, denomination or congregation. That’s NOT what it means to be “in Christ.” Paul wrote:

“… in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”

Ephesians 3:12

God has called us to live a Holy life. True. God created us in Christ Jesus to do good works. Again, true. The question before us is what’s the motivation to do these things. Is it fear and guilt? Is it obedience to the Law? Or is it love and gratitude? Is it response to God’s Grace? Yes, it’s God’s Love and Grace that motivates us. We serve God because we can, not because we have to. We understand what it means to be “in” Christ.

Every Christian should share Paul’s passion in this matter. It is the most important issue facing the Body of Christ today. What do we do while on earth and why?

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

Join us tomorrow when we’ll look at what God wants us to do with this amazing gift of spiritual freedom!

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries