Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 5:1
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1
Timothy George in his commentary on Galatians states the following regarding our life in Christ. “Christian freedom is the precious birthright of every believer, an inestimable blessing.” And I wholeheartedly agree with him. Freedom is a wonderful gift bestowed upon us because of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. However, we must be careful how we interpret our focus verse because there are some things which we do not have the freedom to participate in and still remain obedient to Christ. One way this is practiced is libertinism, which is the practices or habits of life, disregarding any authority in moral or religious matters. As Paul says later in this chapter, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13. We must never think our freedom allows us to sin, on the contrary, we must realize that, through Christ, we are free from sin. “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Romans 6:6. And John puts it this way, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4.
Paul was not speaking of political freedom, as in the statement in our Declaration of Independence where it speaks of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It also does not mean we have the right to believe what we want to believe. Nor can we interpret any verse any way we choose, for there is a specific idea expressed by God in His word that must be adhered to. We must understand that for Paul, Christian freedom was always grounded firmly on our relationship with Christ. Outside of Christ, human life or existence is based on bondage: bondage to sin, to the evil that dominates our world and culture. And very importantly, bondage from the law given to the Jews. No matter what we try, we cannot do anything that will save ourselves and this is why God sent His Son to die to give us freedom from these things, and then sent His Spirit into our hearts as believers to awaken us to this new life and liberation in Christ.
Paul in Galatians quoted above the following. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.“ Galatians 5:13. Paul is telling them that instead turning our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but as an opportunity to share our love by serving one another. As Christ served us by coming down and dying, we are called to serve others by lovingly helping them in whatever way needed. This is what it is all about.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.