“It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Monday, we celebrated the fourth of July, America’s Independence Day. And, oh, did we celebrate! Family and friends gathered in our home, splashed in our pool, and spread chairs on our front lawn to join in on our nation’s birthday party. Fireworks split the darkness with red, white, and blue flashes. Booms and crackles and pops gave a collective and enthusiastic ovation to independence, and sulfur billowed into the night air, smelling of liberty. It was a wonderful evening. Even long after the company left and the child slumbered, my husband and I stayed up, soaking in the wonders of freedom.
But soon enough, July 4th’s fanfare turned into July 5th’s return to burdens and yokes and wrongdoings. Our nation received a back-handed blow of injustice by the very people charged with ensuring justice. A battle rages. “Liberty and justice for all” now rings hollow. The cornerstone of America’s liberty is crumbling because we’ve forgotten as a country why and to what we were set free: Freedom.
Like America, we as Christians have been given freedom. Our freedom, though, came through Christ’s blood alone. Our Savior bled and died and rose again to secure our liberty once for all, “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us…and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross” (Colossians 2:14)! Freedom. Beautiful, amazing, life-giving freedom! Oh, glorious day, when He took my sins away!
1 Peter 2:9 points out our unique position after having received Christ’s freedom: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” A free and holy people living in the light of freedom only God can provide. But like America, too, it can be easy to fall back into the burden sin by believing the lie that we are safer under a yoke of slavery.
Galatians chapter 5, verse one, written out at the beginning of this post, is both a statement of accomplishment and a goal for which we are to strive. It provides us with not only the reason God in Christ set us free, but also the way to remain free: Don’t return to slavery, stand firm! “As you therefore have received Christ, Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” Paul tells us in Colossians. We have not liberated ourselves; our liberty has been bought at a price we could not afford to pay. Christ paid for our freedom and it is finished. But having received our freedom, it becomes our goal, our passion, and, in part, our responsibility to remain a free people, not returning to the bonds and shackles that held us as slaves.
Matthew Henry, a 17th century pastor and Bible commentator, wrote, “Christ will not be the Saviour of any who will not own and rely upon Him as their only Saviour. Let us take heed to the warnings and persuasions of the apostle to steadfastness in the doctrine and liberty of the gospel.” When set in the freedom given through Christ, our hearts are given the liberty to run after that which gives us delight: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). But when enslaved again by sin, both liberty and delight are snuffed out: “…my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins. My guilt overwhelms me – it is too heavy to bear…I am on the verge of collapse” (Psalm 38:3,4,17).
So how do we remain free? How do we take hold of our liberty, our independence from sin, and walk in freedom? It frustrates me greatly when I’m told to do something but never given the roadmap, the instructions, the guide on how to accomplish my responsibilities. Look with me at a few verses in 2 Corinthians:
“Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit…” 2 Corinthians 3:16, 17, & 18, Berean Study Bible download (emphasis mine)
Where His Spirit dwells and reigns, forever freedom is found. Ladies, stay in His presence, because there alone is freedom. Bask in His praises, seek His face, bathe in His Word, obey His commands, breathe in His essence, and learn of Him – this is how we live as free women.
One commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:17 put it beautifully: “We behold Christ, as in the glass of His Word; and as the reflection from a mirror causes the face to shine, the faces of Christians shine also.”
When we read the Word of God, we shine with the light of freedom. When we commit our way unto Him (Prov 16:3), we shine with the light of freedom. When we praise and worship Him in His holiness, He inhabits those praises (Ps 22:3), and we shine with the light of freedom. When we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8), and we shine with the light of freedom. When we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil (James 4:7), we shine with the light of freedom. When we cast our cares upon the One who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), we shine with the light of freedom. When we use our freedom not as an opportunity for the flesh but for service and love (Gal 5:13), we shine with the light of freedom. When we spend time in His glorious presence (Exodus 34:35), we shine with the light of freedom.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, Sisters, there is freedom. Let us not be burdened again by the yoke of slavery. Dwell in His Spirit, and let freedom ring.
In His name and for His glory, Jodi Greene