So much of the Christian life is dictated by a holy tension. We have peace with God (Rom. 5:1), yet we are to know the fear of the Lord (2Cor. 1:11). We are saved by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9), and yet we are to make every effort to add to our faith (2Pet. 1:5). God is sovereign (1Tim. 6:15), yet we are to work out our salvation (Php. 2:12). We are to judge no one (Matt. 7:1), yet we are to be discerning enough that we’re willing to admonish one another (1Thess 5:14). You get the idea. I’m sure you can add to the list.
So, it’s kind of nice when you come upon something that looks pretty clear cut. Simple. Direct.
So, brothers [and sisters], we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. . . . For you were called to freedom, brothers [and sisters]. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
(Galatians 4:31-5:1, 5:13 ESV)
Pretty straight forward, I’m thinking. Why were we saved? Why our redemption from the bondage of sin? Why our rescue from fear of death? For freedom, that’s why Christ has set us free. We were called to freedom. Kind of the whole point of Galatians.
What does it mean to be free? It means not shackling ourselves again with any form of works-based righteousness. Having received salvation as a gift, we no longer have to try and merit our salvation through our works. Having been adopted as His children, we no longer have to try and win our way into His family. Having been made a joint-heir with Christ, we longer have to work our way into heaven. Having been loved by Christ, and loved to the end, we no longer have to look for love in all the wrong places.
And to have been set free for freedom means we’re no longer enslaved to serve the flesh. That, through the power of the Spirit in us (Gal. 5:16), we’re no longer bound by our selfish desires. Thus we’re free to love God and, free to love others. Esteeming others above ourselves, even as we look out not only to our own interests, but their’s as well (Php. 2:3-4).
We were called to freedom. Therefore let us stand firm in freedom.
Simple. Direct. Not much ambiguity in that.
What? Having been set free from sin, I’m now a slave of righteousness, a slave of God (Rom. 6:18,22)? Having been set free for freedom I’m now a bondservant of Christ (1Cor. 7:2)? Hmm . . . another holy tension.
Well, for right now, I’m just going to chew on these couple of verses. And savor the reality that I have been freed for freedom.
And that, by His grace. And that, only for His glory.