Freedom: From What, For What?

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “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” (Gal. 5:1).

This statement has always intrigued me. Christ has set us free because he wants us to be free. Free people who choose to love God in their freedom bring joy and glory to God. So, the first answer to my title question is that we are freed so that we can be free. That is what freedom is for. God loves freedom.

The inverse is that God hates captivity—to sin, to injustice, to death. The anointing of the Lord is designed to break every yoke of bondage. Part of the mission of the Anointed One is to “proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1). When this release comes to earth through the “freedom and glory of the children of God,” all of creation will be liberated from its march toward decay, chaos and death (Rom. 8:20-22). Our freedom will ultimately bring freedom to all of creation that groans and waits for us.

Being vessels of the Holy Spirit promises that we have attained a measure of freedom unavailable to the unredeemed. We are not in bondage to the letter of the Law but have been freed to walk in the Spirit of the Law. It has been inscribed upon our hearts. “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17). There’s no punctuation in the Greek text, but that one really deserves an exclamation point.

Improper uses of freedom are to indulge our flesh (Gal. 5:13), justify ourselves, or try to cover up evil (1 Pet. 2:16). As disciples we are not free to sin without consequences. We are not free to be unloving or unconcerned about the well-being of others (1 Cor 10:23). Instead, we are free to NOT sin and to walk in beautiful harmony with God’s purposes. The more we know of him and his ways, and apply the truth of his word, the freer we become. The Psalmist wrote, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts” (Ps. 119:45). Jesus himself insisted that his truth was the key to our freedom (Jn. 8:32).

Perhaps the best use of our God-given freedom is that “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Eph. 3:12). Grab a hold of that. We are enabled to approach a perfectly holy God with freedom and confidence, unafraid and unashamed.

Hallelujah! Be free!

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