Summary: Our freedom in Christ is freedom from the burden of guilt
July 15, 2001
WE HAVE A LICENSE
It’s summer time again, and that means a whole bunch of new drivers will be out on the roads. High school students are finishing their Driver’s Ed. Courses and practicing for their tests, all in the hopes of getting a driver’s license.
It seems like a lot of work for a small piece of plastic with your picture on it. Yet, what power that little card possesses. A driver’s license gives an individual the freedom to operate an automobile. What a privilege! Just ask anybody who’s recently gotten a driver’s license – it’s a big deal.
It’s the same way in spiritual matters. Our Lord tells us that we are free – free from sin, guilt, even condemnation. Yet, as with any freedom, this freedom we have in God’s kingdom is not something to be abused. When it comes to spiritual matters: WE HAVE A LICENSE. This license is pure privilege. It’s not so much a license to do, as it is a license to enjoy what’s already done. In that sense, we have a license 1) to salvation. We have a license 2) to satisfaction.
1) To Salvation
The apostle is encouraging the Christians in Galatia to apply what they were taught to their lives. Since Jesus Christ has done everything for us, we are freed from a slavish obedience to Old Testament laws. This means living in freedom. Freedom is a word that is near and dear to us. We talk of how we cherish freedom from political tyranny and such. That’s not the freedom stressed in this section of Scripture though. The freedom we have in Christ Jesus is not political or economic. It’s a spiritual freedom from the tyranny of guilt.
The first thing Paul stresses in these verses is that we are, indeed, free. It’s a state of being.: “it is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” We have a license to freedom. It’s ours. It’s something that is ours in Jesus Christ. Jesus has set us free. He’s the one who has earned our freedom, our license. He did this by making himself nothing. He emptied himself of all that is glorious and took on our own flesh and blood. He carried the yoke of sin in his own body, and paid the price for our freedom by giving his own life. Jesus made himself nothing, so that we might have everything.
His life, death, and resurrection -- that’s our license and it frees us from the tyranny of guilt. There’s nothing worse than a guilty conscience, and Satan knows it. He longs to burden us with a yoke of guilt. It happens to us often. Imagine you are speeding along in the freedom of Christ –relishing the fact that you are a child of God in Jesus --and suddenly the Guilt Police pulls you over. The officer-in-charge, Satan, demands to know how you can be so happy.
Right then and there he attempts to diminish the God-given joy you have in your Savior. He types your name into his computer and it prints out a list of “priors”: “sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Satan, then, points out that there are a number of offenses against you. He knows us well. He knows us by name. He knows our nature. He looks at you and accuses you of being a filthy sinner. “ Look at this list,” he insists, “You wretch, did you know you were smiling in a No Smiling Zone? You’ve got no reason to be joyful, no reason to hope! Let me see your license!” he demands. Reluctantly, you hand it to him, he swipes it through his computer, and that list of “priors” vanishes from the screen. Not one remains. Satan is surprised. He looks at the name encoded on that card and it says, “Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.” Yes, it’s Jesus’ license. It’s a license to salvation, but it belongs to you! Jesus has given you his life and blood – your license – and that cancels out the debt of sin and frees us from the guilt Satan would heap upon us.