People understand freedom in different ways. For some it is political, escape from foreign aggression or a cruel regime. For others it is cultural, the liberty to think and express themselves as they choose.
The Apostle Paul was often denied his human rights. He did not always enjoy political or cultural freedom, yet he insists Jesus sets His followers free in an altogether deeper way.
Free from guilt and fear before God, and from the inherited, inbuilt tendency to reject His authority and go our own way. That ‘iniquity’ can still tempt us but no longer has the upper hand over us. We don’t have to give in to sin!
Free also from trying (and failing miserably) to measure up to God (and other people’s opinions) with the rules and rituals of outward religion.
Galatians is actually an indignant letter from the Apostle Paul to correct some church fellowships he had helped found. They were in danger of drifting away from their foundation on God’s grace in Christ which He extends to all people everywhere. Some teachers were urging them to trust in Jesus and depend on certain Jewish traditions like circumcision. Paul is emphatic that we don’t need anything else beyond faith in Jesus in order to enjoy God’s mercy and blessing.
New Christians often express a sense of relief, happiness, joy. We are forgiven and loved. A new life of opportunity seems to be opening before us. We are ‘free’!
But not to indulge our old self-centred (and often destructive) nature.
Rather, we are now free to explore life in harmony with our Maker, indwelt by His Spirit, Who makes faith a very natural, organic thing. Notice vs 22 and 23:
‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’
Fruit grows naturally. It doesn’t require effort. More like you can’t stop it!
And when we submit each day to God, read His Word and prayerfully seek to be guided and helped by the Holy Spirit, He works in us to produce these beautiful Christ-like character traits.
We continue to stand on God’s amazing grace.
Faith expresses itself through love.
Christ is setting us free!