“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
The birthday of our nation places the spotlight on words that held a special place in the hearts of our founders, and in the lives of the people who fought for Independence. Freedom is one those words that remains a part of the vocabulary of our culture in spite of political correctness. Only the definition of it has changed.
The meaning of freedom has deteriorated into license. It once meant the state in which a person lives without any restraint upon them to do what is right. Contemporary culture still demands freedom from restraints, but now freedom is a license to do anything a person wants to do. Big difference.
With the removal of moral absolutes, from the fabric of a nation, freedom is no longer rooted in the character of Holy God. Public virtue has become a threadbare remnant of a by-gone era. Fading memories of the meaning of words held dear by the founders of a nation are not strong enough to hold a nation together. Only God can do that. Prayer calls on Him to do it. Let it begin.
There is little doubt that the founders of this nation were knowledgeable about this passage of Scripture. They were not all believers in the Word of God, but none of them were ignorant of it. It was a textbook in the homes, the grammar schools and universities of the nation. Graduates of the most respected colleges were familiar with the text of Scripture in English, Greek, and Latin. The Word of God may not have changed their lives, but they were very familiar with it, and influenced by it.
Paul reminded the Galatians that they were no longer under an obligation to The Law to make them right with God. They were free from the impossible burden to keep ALL The Law in order to meet the requirements of Holy God. Jesus had met the requirements of The Law, and set them free, on The Cross, once and for all.
Paul did not describe freedom as personal independence, but as complete dependence. By depending on Jesus as Savior and Lord, believers were free to receive The Spirit of Christ. Yielding to The Spirit’s control over their lives would lead them to an expression of the character of Christ. The Law had the power to convict a person of sin, but it did not have the power to conform a person to Christ. Christ’s character only comes by depending on The Spirit of The Living Christ.
“For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.” (V. 5)
The motivation for depending on The Spirit was love. Trusting in Jesus for salvation released the love of God into a believer’s life. Depending on The Spirit sustains the love of God. The fruit of The Spirit is love. Those who put their faith in Jesus, not only receive God’s love, they release His love “through The Spirit.”
Faith is not a dust-covered doctrine or set of rules. It is a movement of God in the life of the believers, as they yield to and cooperate with The Spirit. Paul described it as “faith working in love.” (V. 6)
Paul asked the Galatians, “What hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.” (V. 7-8)
Paul’s question was rhetorical, but the answer is essential to any believer who panics at the first sign of their flesh raising it’s ugly head after being crucified on The Cross. Identifying with Christ on The Cross leads a sinner to salvation. Yielding to The Spirit’s control conforms a believer to Christ. Believers put their faith in Christ for salvation, and they depend upon His Spirit to complete the transformation. Trying harder to please God must be replaced by a passion for yielding to the still, small voice of God’s voice, “through the Spirit.” Praying involves listening, and improves the hearing and obeying of the believer.
Paul’s warning reveals that many people in the church had already rejected, “The stumbling block of the cross.” (V. 11) In Iraq, Syria, and throughout the rest of the Muslim world, Christians are being crucified on crosses placed in the city squares. The death of these modern martyrs is meant to be a form of mockery of their most precious beliefs, and an intimidation to other Christians to reject these beliefs and convert to Islam. Just this week, in the city of Mosul, 1500 years of Christianity was snuffed out, by Muslims.
The people of a nation, blessed with Religious Freedom, risk losing it, when they devalue it. People who take on the chains of The Law, don’t make themselves right with God. By attempting to keep it, they have not believed. They have only become greatly deceived.
“For you were called to freedom, brethren, only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (v. 13)
Freedom, in God’s eyes, is not an opportunity for a person to declare their independence, and do exactly as they please. It is not even a person’s personal choice to reject The Cross, and choose The Law, in order to try and please Him. Freedom is found in Christ. Anything else is slavery.
A believer’s daily, moment-by-moment, step-by-step, breath-by- breath dependence upon The Spirit, conforms them to the character of The Son. The Son did not claim His rights and do as He pleased. He prayed until His will was conformed to the will of The Father. He served others out of an overflowing love for His Father. His followers are free to pray in His name and yield to His Spirit’s power to do the same. Believing prayer is the sound of freedom flowing from the heart of the believer. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!