“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 ESV).
At first glance, the first seven words of this verse seem redundant. Obviously we weren’t set free for captivity! Aaaaaah…there it is.
For some reason we Christians aren’t really comfortable with the idea of no rules. We are much more at home with the concept of earning our free salvation. Sure, on Sunday we all profess our belief that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV). But as soon as our bellies have regretted how much we ate at the Chick-Fil-A after church we are right back on the legalistic bandwagon.
We like rules. We like having a checklist for heaven. The only problem is that checklist was the reason we needed a Savior in the first place!
Paul asked, “Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh” (Galatians 3:1-3 ESV)? Whose standard of salvation are you attempting to meet?
Now, certainly God has expectations, right?
Yes! Faith. Faith in Jesus’ sacrificial and atoning death and resurrection. Faith that He has a good plan and future for our lives. The kind of faith that makes us want to do right, want to be better. Not in order to be saved, but because we are saved. I don’t seek to maintain a calm, even disposition because I will somehow lose my salvation with my temper. I seek to do so because I want to live in such a way that brings glory to Jesus!
So, “it was for freedom Christ has set us free!” Paul continues with an exhortation to “stand firm” for that very reason (therfore).
I urge you in a most sincere manner, don’t go back to the list of rules. Instead focus on developing your relationship with God. Focus on loving Him and allowing Him to love you…as you are. Then, love Him with your life. No rules. No chains. Just pure, unadulterated love.
Blessings on your day!