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. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. - Galatians 5:1,13
I've been thinking about this a lot today. I used to read these verses and sort of feel lost. "It's for freedom Christ has set us free"??? Ok. What does that mean? I mean, yeah, I'd agree that Christ set us free from the condemnation coming against us, but free? Free from what? Doesn't God restrict, not free? If Christ has set us free are we "free" to do whatever we want? And if we're not, is that really freedom?
If I'm honest those questions have gone through my head many times over the years. But today, after pouring my heart out to one that I love, I heard those verses in my head and it made total sense! Sin is slavery. Christ's blood bought freedom. Freedom from sin! He didn't die to serve us our favorite, chosen sin on a silver platter. He died to give us the power to kill sin, to break free from it's chains, to turn to him when we find ourselves in a sin. He didn't come to leave the dead, dead and the sick, sick and the broken, broken. He came to give life to the dead, heal the sick and restore the broken.
Until we see him face to face we will be in a battle to fight sin with faith. We have been given the power to look the slave driver of sin in the face and say, "NO MORE! I will not give myself over to you!" And when we fail, and we will fail, we have been given the grace to cut off the arm that causes us to sin and turn our minds and hearts back to the One who died to set us free.
Freedom in Christ is freedom to no longer be poisoned by the lies of sin. It's the freedom to be sober again, to see clearly the beauty of God in Christ and realize we've been feasting ourselves on vomit and rottenness and poison. When we have that freedom we recognize sin for what it is and we hate it and we fight it and we turn from it when we find ourselves in it. And we can do that now, because Christ has come and purchased with his own blood the ability for us to taste the goodness of God and despise the putridness of sin. He bore or sins in his body to free us to love God and love one another not to turn ourselves back over to the destructive things that he had to die to free us from in the first place!
So when I read these verses now I exclaim, "Yes! Yes! Yes he really has freed me." Now I hate the thing I used to think he was unfairly keeping me from. I now know he's freed me from the thing that was keeping me from really loving Him and really serving and loving others.
And because of all this, this Advent, I'm thinking a lot about my longing for the coming again of Christ. Until that day he's freed me to fight the fight of faith. To stand. To change my thinking. To turn to him. And when he comes and I see him face to face, the fight will be over. Until then I cling to the promise that he came to set me free and I press on to fight the good fight of faith in who He is and what He teaches me to do.