Free At Last
Our heart yearns for freedom.
Freedom is the word of the day. It is on everyone’s lips.
There are the four famous freedoms first defined by President Roosevelt in 1941, when he spoke of ‘freedom of speech everywhere, freedom of worship everywhere, freedom from want everywhere, and freedom from fear everywhere.”
But the way that we use the term now is far from the freedom that God envisioned.
In the book of Galatians, Paul defines our salvation on the basis of freedom. “We were in slavery – no we have been set free.” Yet the freedom we have received can be defined from two different extremes.
1. Our conscience is free from the guilt of sin. (vs. 1-12)
“’Circumcision’ stands for a religion of human achievement, of what man can do by his own good works; ‘Christ’ stands for a religion of divine achievement, of what God had done through the finished work of Christ. ‘Circumcision’ means law, works and bondage; ‘Christ’ means grace, faith and freedom. Every man must choose. The one impossibility is what the Galatians were attempting, namely to add circumcision to Christ and have both. No. ‘Circumcision’ and ‘Christ’ are mutually exclusive.” (Stott, p. 138).
Guilt produces because we know we are not living up to God’s standards.
“Your righteousness is nothing more than filthy rags.” (Isaiah 55)
“But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.” (v. 5)
“What we are waiting for is termed ‘ the hope of righteousness’, … namely spending eternity with Christ in heaven. For this future salvation we wait. We do not work for it; we wait for it by faith. We do not strive anxiously to secure it, or imagine that we have to earn it by good works. [Eternity] is as free a gift as our initial [salvation]. So by faith, trusting only in Christ crucified, we wait for it.” (Stott, p. 134)
“Freedom from the awful bondage of having to merit the favor of God is not freedom from all controls.”
Man this week arrested for repeated sexual assault – one of the men freed by former Gov. Ryan from death row.
2. Our will is free from the power of sin. (vs. 13-26)
“Don’t use your freedom from a guilty conscience as a launching pad, as a pretext, for self-indulgence.”
“Christian freedom is freedom from sin, not freedom to sin.”
“There are many such slaves in our society today. They proclaim their freedom with a loud voice. They speak of free love and a free life; but in reality they are slaves to their own appetites to which they give free reign, simply because they cannot control them.” (Stott, p. 141)
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (vs. 24)
How is this possible? By the Holy Spirit. He is mentioned seven times in vs. 16-26 by name.