For Freedom Set Free
Hello Church Family,
I hope you’re planning on enjoying some extended time with friends and family over the next few days. My calendar is already full!
After all, this weekend we celebrate the independence that we gained as a country some 239 years ago—all the benefits that come with being a free nation, no longer encumbered by British taxation or rule. This is indeed a freedom to be relished.
But there is a different type of freedom that actually trumps national or political liberty.
In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul writes: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” This tautologous statement (saying the same thing twice for emphasis) is meant to drive home a very important reality: As Christians we have been liberated from the curse of the law.
What that means is: The law (broadly speaking, all the commands of God) brings with it a curse because no one is able to obey all of it. The law renders us guilty before God. It condemns us. The law stands over us and shouts, “You’re a failure, you’ve blown it again, there is no hope for you to save yourself.” And if that were the end of the story, we would have every reason to be depressed and altogether unpleasant.
But in Galatians 3, we’re told “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” (Galatians 3:13)
Those who place their faith in Jesus are liberated from the curse of the law because the righteousness of Christ is applied to them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we’re now free to ignore God’s commands or disobey Him, but that the law no longer wields its judicial authority over us.
As 16th Century German theologian, Johannes Brenz, asserts: “The law has the power to condemn sinners. But because Christ has paid the price of sin, he has borne the curse and condemnation of the law. This is the greatest and most important part of Christian freedom. After he set us free from the law in this way, he gave those who believe in him the full righteousness that the law demands. Therefore, even if we do not have the perfect righteousness of the works of the law (which we most certainly do not) yet because we have Christ, we are considered to be perfectly righteous because of him. This is what Christian freedom is.”
Put simply: The law can never condemn those who have been declared “not guilty” in Christ.
So … as you eat your hotdogs this weekend, don your red-white-and-bluest outfit, and watch the fireworks, how about this reminder: nothing you do (or don’t do) will alter your standing before God. You belong to Him. And He loves you. So you’re free to stop worrying about your performance and just delight in the One who redeemed you and in whom every blessing is found.
Now, that’s a sort of freedom worth celebrating every day … not just once a year!
For your joy,