Thursday, July 22, 2010


Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

1 Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἡμᾶς Χριστὸς ἠλευθέρωσεν· στήκετε οὖν καὶ μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε.

I've not seen Braveheart, but I understand that there is a moment where William Wallace yells, "Freedom!"  Obviously freedom is a big deal to all of us.  The United States was founded on the idea.  We want to be free to do what we want to do.

I think that I have taken this verse out of its context for a long time.  If you know anything of my story, you know that I am painfully aware of what slavery to sin looks like.  I also know what it means to be free in Christ.  It is a glorious thing to enjoy the freedom from sin that Christ gives us.  As I reflect on this it makes me want to treasure Him all the more.  This is a great thing.

However, that is not what this verse is about.  Paul is continuing his argument about slavery to the Law.  He finished chapter 4 contrasting Sinai (the Law) with freedom in Christ.  After this verse he discusses circumcision more.  Circumcision was a symptom of the bigger problem of folks trying to be saved by the Law.  So while in Christ there is certainly freedom from sin, the bigger issue here is freedom from the chains of the Law.

What does this mean to us?  It means that we do not need more rules.  We do not go from bondage to sin into bondage to rules.  Legalism will not save us.  We obey the commands of Scripture because we are saved from sin.  It is a response, not a requirement for salvation.  Those of us who run in more fundamentalistic circles need to be particularly careful about this.  Let's obey Paul's command to στήκετε, amen?

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