Summary: Galatians Chapter 5 verse 1 says this: “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free”
Do you like your freedom?
We live in a country that allows a lot of freedom.
Freedom of speech
Freedom of religion,
freedom to vote or not vote, freedom to choose to eat or not eat genetically modified food,
freedom to choose the shop you buy you clothes in
On Remembrance Sunday we remember what our freedom cost.
This morning I want us to briefly look at freedom,
what we are free from and what we are free 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.
In the bible there is a Letter that the Apostle Paul wrote called Galatians. He wrote this letter to a to a group of Jewish and Gentile Christians in a Church that Paul had started.
Galatians Chapter 5 verse 1 says this:
“it is for freedom that Christ has set us free”
Throughout Galatians Paul talks about how Christ’s death takes away fear, and how God provides lasting forgiveness and restoration in 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?
Terry Waite in his book ‘Taken on Trust’ describes being chained to the wall and only allowed to go to the bathroom once a day.
He was chained to a radiator for 1763 days, almost four years.
We can only imagine the sense of freedom he has now.
But imagine that after he was released he was walking past the building where he had been held and one of his captors calls him over.
The man says ‘Mr Waite won’t you come back into captivity again? We will give you a new set of handcuffs, a new chain, a new room and a new radiator to be chained to.’
Would Terry Waite go back?
No of course he wouldn’t. Would you?
Now why would I ask such a question?
Simple really – most people I know have done exactly that.
Paul says in Galatians 5 verse 1 ‘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’
Yet when I look around me and observe the lives of many people
I see slavery and not freedom.
I see people burdened with guilt, bound by fear, enslaved to habits which are sinful, shackled with an attitude that is far from the living in the freedom of Christ.
Yet here Paul says Jesus has set us free.
In John 8 verse 32 Jesus 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.’
Friends how come Christ has set us free and yet many Christians are still in chains, still in bondage, still shackled by fear, by sin, by the flesh, the world and the devil.
In John Bunyan’s book Pilgrim’s Progress there is a point at which Christian’s burden, which he has been carrying all his life, falls off his back and rolls away.
Anyone remember where this happens?
It falls off at the foot of the cross and it rolls into an empty tomb.
He never again carries that burden on his back – the burden by the way is sin. Friends Christ died to set us free from the burden of sin.
Listen to the prophet Isaiah, chapter 1 verse 18 and chapter 6 verse 7. Do you understand you are freed from the burden of sin.
Let me remind you what Jesus said ‘come unto me all that labour and are heavy laden and I will …’ ...add more weight to your burden?
No, ‘and I will give you rest.’
What was the constant refrain coming from the lips of Jesus to people – come to me and I will remove your burden of sin.
Friends we have been freed from the burden of sin.
You see that is why Paul warns the Galatians not to put the yoke of the Law back on themselves again.
Heretics had got in amongst them in the church and had started to win them over to the heresy that in order to be saved they need to be circumcised and to obey the Law.
It seemed so easy to them and almost so obvious that this was right but it was wrong.
It was a minor medical procedure but the theological and doctrinal implications were enormous.
What Paul says is this – if you believe that circumcision is necessary then you do not believe that Christ’s death on the cross is sufficient to save you from your sins.