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Summary: We are called by god to be free from sin and the ways of the world, not to be caught up in legalism or keeping score of good deed. what Christ did for us was to free us up to do His will.

Galatians 5:1–6 (NKJV)

We’re talking about freedom today. The freedom we have in Christ. But many misunderstand that freedom.

Galatians 5:1 (NKJV) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

When I study a Bible passage, I often will read the passage from several different translations including the original languages (Greek/Hebrew) to get the feel for what the passage is trying to say. This opening verse is probably better understood in the NIV

Galatians 5:1 (NIV84) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

It was for freedom. Freedom from what. Freedom for what? Freedom, we all want that. In America we say it is the land of the free. But freedom comes with consequences and responsibilities.

One particularly telling example of this comes from fourteenth century Belgium. Let me tell you the true story of a Duke Raynald III. Raynald lived a life of indulgence and was obese. His Latin nickname was Crassus, which means, “fat.” One day Raynald and his younger brother, Edward, got into a vicious fight and Edward planned and executed a triumphant revolt against Raynald. Edward took his older brother into custody but did not take his life. Edward decided to construct a room around Raynald in the Nieuwkerk Castle and promised his brother that he would enjoy freedom once again when he was able to leave the room. Now for the average Joe this wouldn’t have been much of a challenge, because the room Edward built had a number of windows and a door of near-normal size. Neither the door nor the windows were locked - - they weren’t barricaded. So you’re getting the picture by now: In order to experience his freedom again Raynald needed to loose weight. But his brother Edward was no dummy, because he knew just how to keep Raynald imprisoned. Every day he would send Raynald an assortment of tasty foods. And what took place is just sad: Instead of dieting his way to freedom, Raynald grew more overweight and he stayed in that room for ten years until his brother died. But by that time his health was so awful that he also died within a year. We can say that Raynald III was a prisoner of his own appetite for food.

I ask you. Was Raynald free? He did what he wanted to do. When given the choice, he chose to indulge his appetite at the cost of greater freedom. I think that we can agree that he was enslaved. To whom was he enslaved? – His lesser but larger self. (1) Many people think that freedom is the license to do whatever a person wants, but true freedom is the ability to do what is right. It takes obedience in order to have true freedom.

I can sit at a piano and be at liberty to play any keys that I want, but I don’t have freedom, because I can’t play anything but noise. I have no freedom to play Bach, or even “Chopsticks.” Why? Because it takes years of practice and obedience to lesson plans to be truly free at the piano. Then, and only then, does one have the freedom to play any piece of music. The same is true of freedom in living. To be truly free, we must have the power and ability to be obedient. (2) We are free to be obedient. Free to do the will of God. Prior to being set free, we were unable to do that. We were powerless and slave to sin.

Galatians 5:1 is a summation of Galatians Chapter 4. Paul used the example from Genesis about the Isaac born to Sarah the free woman and Ismael born to Hagar the slave or bondwoman.

Galatians 4:31 (NKJV) So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

We were once a slave, but now we are adopted into God family.

Galatians 4:7 (NKJV) Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Being born again under Christ we are born under those that are free

Galatians 5:1 (NIV84) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Being free, why would anyone go back to slavery? The command is to stand firm in the freedom we would have in Christ. If we have freedom, freedom from sin, why do we want that yoke again? The use of the word “yoke” is scripture represents bondage, a life that is controlled by someone else. The yoke Jesus offers is different:

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