“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.”
What does that mean to you? We might be tempted to think it means something like:
• We live under grace, not law, so I’m free to do whatever I like, confident that I’m forgiven by God; or
• I’m free to consume as much as I like – possessions, alcohol etc.; or
• I’m free to do what I like with my time; or
• I’m free to make my own decisions and not have to do what others tell me; or
• I’m free to have an alternate view so that I don’t just conform to what everyone else is doing
Is this what Christian freedom is really about? Jesus didn’t exercise his freedom by doing any of those things. Instead he chose the way of the cross, voluntarily giving up his life for us. When we look to Jesus, there is an object lesson on freedom for us to follow. Listen to what Paul goes on to say in Galatians 5:13-15:
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Christian freedom is not to be an exercise in indulgence or rebellion. Instead we are to use our freedom to serve one another in love. So, before we next exercise our freedom we ought to ask ourselves:
• Am I being self-indulgent?
• Is this helping me serve other people?
• Is my main motive to love others, or to prove that I have freedom?
As you can see from Paul’s last sentence, the consequences for getting it wrong will have a devastating impact on our relationships with one another.