The MEANING of ‘TRUE’ FREEDOM in CHRIST: Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Gal 5:1, 13-16)
Freedom is the prevailing cry of the world today. Yet even though Scripture speaks of a liberty that Christ offers (Gal. 5:1–12), some people resist Christianity as itself an obstacle to freedom.
What is the meaning of ‘true’ freedom in Christ? It is not the removal of moral restraints, but the freedom to serve one another in love. The gospel exchanges the oppressive bondage of legalism for the higher bondage of love. Liberty is freedom from exterior rule as we are no longer ruled by the law but by the Holy Spirit ruling from our hearts. A. T. Pierson says:
“True freedom is found only in obedience to proper restraint. A river finds liberty to flow, only between banks: without these it would only spread out into a slimy, stagnant pool. Planets, uncontrolled by law, would only bring wreck to themselves and to the universe. The same law which fences us in, fences others out; the restraints which regulate our liberty also insure and protect it. It is not control, but the right kind of control, and a cheerful obedience which make the free man.”
We must daily walk and live in the Holy Spirit (v. 16) by the following:
- We must believe that the Holy Spirit is within us, having been sent by God into our hearts (4:6).
- In every spiritual confrontation we must yield to the Holy Spirit completely (v. 13).
- We must depend on the Holy Spirit for help that will enable us to live a God-pleasing life (v. 5).
- We should anticipate the effects of the Holy Spirit’s help in our daily lives as we will not carry out the strong desires of our sinful nature (v 16).
Our freedom in Christ is costly, for it did cost Jesus His own life. In Jesus we stand free as the yoke of the law has been removed (Acts 15:6–11). Freedom brings with it the responsibility to serve as we use the faith God has given us to work through love in serving others (v. 6b). Love motivates us to fulfill the law of God (Rom. 13:8–14).
Are we walking in the Spirit? Are we experiencing 'true' freedom in Christ? Let us understand that as we yield to the Holy Spirit, the life of Christ manifests in our actions as we yield the fruit of the Spirit. Walking each moment by faith in God’s word under the Spirit’s control assures absolute victory over the desires of our sinful nature. True Christian freedom is Christ-like freedom!
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)