Summary: ‘stand firm’ in the freedom which Christ brings, and Christ alone brings. Do not go back into the old way of trying to earn or win God’s favour by obedience to the Law. (1 Peter 1 v18-19)
This morning I want us to think about freedom, what we have freedom from
and what we have the freedom to do.
Christians often talk about something we refer to as the Gospel, the Gospel simply means Good News or glad tidings.
And one of the best ways we can explain the Good News about Jesus Christ is to talk about freedom.
Galatians Chapter 5 verse 1 wrote starts with the words:
“it is for freedom that Christ has set us free”
Throughout the letter to the Galatian Church,
Paul speaks about how Christ’s death takes away fear, he speaks about how God provides lasting forgiveness and restoration,
and He speaks of the truth of knowing that Jesus Christ has set us free not just for a day, but for eternity.
We ARE set free by Jesus.
We HAVE freedom.
But freedom from what?
What are we free from?
Paul continues in Galatians 5:1 and says:
‘It is for freedom Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’
Look at the world today.
Look at the lives of ordinary everyday people.
in the lives of many people
There seems to be slavery and not freedom.
There are people burdened with guilt,
bound by fear,
enslaved to sinful habits,
shackled with bad attitudes...
There are many that are very far from the living in the freedom Christ gives.
There are also too many Christians who seem far from living in the Freedom Christ has died to give them.
Yet Paul says Jesus HAS set us free.
Let me remind you of the words of Jesus recorded in ohn 8 verse 32 - He says the truth shall set you free and four verses later in verse 36 he says ‘if the Son sets you free you shall be free indeed.’
So, Why is it, if Christ HAS already set us free, so many Christians still seem to be in chains and still in bondage?
If Jesus has already set us free why are so many still shackled by fear, by sin, by wrong desires, by the stuff this world offers?
The truth is Christ died to set us free from the burden of sin.
But so often we choose to continue to carry it.
If Isaiah chapter 1 verse 18 the prophet asks: Do you understand you ARE freed from the burden of sin?
Let me remind you what Jesus said ‘come to me all that labour and are heavy laden and I will …’ ...add more weight to your burden?
No, Jesus said come to me ‘and I will give you rest.’
On many occasions Jesus told the people – come to me and I will remove your burden of sin.
We HAVE been freed from the burden of sin.
Jesus HAS died and risen.
Jesus HAS conquered death.
Jesus HAS paid the price for our sins.
Isn’t it time we actually started living in the Freedom that is already ours?
Paul warns the Galatians not to put the yoke of the Law back on themselves again.
Paul told the Galatian church they had rejected the gospel of grace - there were people who had started to say that believing in Jesus was not enough - there were people who were teaching that to really be saved they was still a need to be circumcised and to obey the Letter of the Law.
Paul told them if they believed that circumcision or anything else needed to be added then they did not believe that Christ’s death on the cross was sufficient to save people from their sins.
Living under the Laws of the Old Covenant could never bring freedom it.
The Law brought condemnation and guilt.
It laid a burden on the people.
It held them in bondage.
But when Christ came, He fulfilled the requirements of the Law,
He was the atonement for sin.
The burden was lifted from the people because the requirement of the Law had been met when Jesus perfect life was sacrificed in their (and our) place.
Jesus HAS set us free.
So why would the Galatians go back into slavery when they had been given freedom?
Well you know it was the pattern of their ancestors, and ours.
Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, he led them into freedom, but they were not happy, even hough they were free they begin to moan and complain that life was better back in Egypt.
They complained about so much, they even said “in Egypt we had cucumbers and Garlic!”
The Galatians were doing the same.
They allowed men to come in amongst them and spread heresy.
There is something in the heart of every person that deceives us into thinking we need to earn our salvation, that in some way we can contribute something to it.