For Freedom

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

For freedom. It is so easy to reduce the miracle of salvation down to "I believe in God, and he will save me from hell." Yes, true, but there is so much in our salvation that can be applied NOW. We are free from hell, free from the bondage of sin, but even more: we are also free from empty religion, legalism, and fear-based behavioral modification.

I who live in Christ am no longer trapped into a cycle where my salvation, my future, my hope, my eternity, depends on me. Because guess what? I am sort of terrible. I struggle, I am short-minded, easily frustrated, easily stressed, and I quickly fall into a cycle where I feel like if I'm not being a good "Christian" that God does not love me in that moment.

This is what we are free from. Our salvation was accomplished by Jesus on the cross, and to live in that we only have to accept it and love Him. He has done all of the work and there is nothing we can add. This verse calls us to stand firm in that truth, and even further, not submit again to yoke of slavery.

In the scriptures, Paul was writing to the churches in Galatia who were struggling with the gospel message and beginning to revert it back to something it was never meant to be. One of the big perversions of the gospel Paul was trying to correct was that we must complete some sort of spiritual discipline or follow the law to be saved. Paul is so well-spoken on this topic since he lived it; he admits himself that before he knew Christ he was so zealous to defend the law that he actual broke it!  

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made. (Galatians 3:19a)

The law, the sacrificial system that required so much of man in an effort to reach God, is gone. Once faith is put into Jesus Christ and his righteousness, the weight of the law has no hold over us! Our right standing with God will not change or flicker based on our current state or failures to be "good enough." 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

I let this verse comfort me whenever I fall back into the cycle of "I'm not good enough." No, I am not "good" enough, and by nature I never can be. However, Jesus is good enough. He has gone through everything I could ever face, and did it sinlessly so his righteousness could be imparted to me. This is where the freedom comes; it's a freedom that leads to rest in His goodness, His strength, His perfect nature shared with us who were so undeserving. 

For freedom, we have been set free. 

Like a Child

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)

Think of a child: hopelessly dependent, unable to survive on their own, fully looking up to parents or guardians for every need. Children also approach the world with a sense of wonder we lose as we grow, a gleefulness that we crowd out with responsibilities and burdens. When we approach God with this same attitude, we will see Him as the provider of everything and simply delight in his care for us. He is our good Father, loving us in spite of ourselves. When we run to him like a child, happy and carefree and fully trusting, our relationship and faith will grow in the humility and awe Jesus calls us to.