God frees (liberates) all of His children of Grace from all spiritual bondage. We are truly free in Jesus Christ! So, what do we do with our freedom?
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Galatians 5:13 (NKJV)
First, we must grasp the FACT that we are FREE! Second, we must understand why we’re free. God made us free. That’s fact. His Grace dictates that we are no longer under the supervision or power of Law and sin. We are now under the control and power of His Grace. In what direction does God want us to go with our freedom? Indulging our sinful nature? No! God’s direction for us is the direction of serving others in love. For Christians hung up on obeying the Law, Paul reminded them:
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’“
What happens to Christians who get hung up on sin, law and guilt? They destroy each other. Paul wrote:
“But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”
If you’ve been a Christian for even just a few years, you’ve seen this. Christians tearing into each other like hungry lions. Why? Because they get hung up on sin and law. It leads to guilt, frustration, anger, jealousy, and eventually hatred. It tears Christians and their churches to pieces as surely as we breathe to live. Satan accomplishes his goals through God’s own people. Satan did it to the Galatians and he’s still doing it today. When are we going to wise up and see sin and law for what it is? It’s the great divider in the church. It’s what keeps us from enjoying God and each other.
Love, given freely from a life lived free, is the Holy Goal. It’s the essence of GraceLife: “to serve one another in love.” It’s what God’s Spirit will produce in us when we open ourselves to the freedom He has given us.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Nobody can stand against the real work of God’s Spirit! It’s honest and real. It’s true. It is our strength and hope. It’s what makes a lasting difference in our world. Exercising Spiritual Freedom in a Spirit of Love means we are “other-centered” and not “self-centered.” By that, I don’t mean we deny and denegrate ourselves. We are best able to serve others in love when we love ourselves. It is from a heart of self-love and appreciation of what we are in Christ that we can reach out to a world filled with people who do not love God, themselves or others. We have something very special to give them: the knowledge and experience of God’s Grace. We share that gift best when we are filled with God’s Spirit and overflow with the fruits of our relationship with Him.
Part of exercising our Spiritual Freedom is looking out for others. Paul told the Corinthians to “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (NIV) If you really love someone, you won’t do things that cause them to stumble and fall. You won’t purposely try to hinder their relationship with God. Love leads us to do the right things for ourselves and others. If we really love others, ministry becomes very easy. It’s not a struggle to do good things for people we love. Christ “in” us will love others in a way no one can reproduce. It is a supernatural ability because the Supernatural Christ is in us loving others through us.
The world we live in is in big trouble. It desperately needs to hear from God. How does that happen? When Christians show the world the love they have for each other. That’s where it starts. The world is looking for evidence that God is real. We claim to know God, so the world watches what we do. What are we telling the world when we bite and devour each other? What message are we sending when we are mean and cruel toward members of our own spiritual family? It sends the opposite message of the Truth of our salvation.
Our Lord said it so well when He walked among men and taught His disciples the meaning of following Him:
“Jesus replied, ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.”
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
“This is my command: Love each other.”
“I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
It’s time for us to revel in the Freedom God has so freely given us, and then turn that Freedom toward each other. God wants us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and serve them in a unified spirit of love. God will bless that Unity and let the world know that God the Father sent God the Son with the Gospel of Love and Grace.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,