“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.” – Galatians 5:1
Christ died to set us free from sin and from a long list of laws and regulations. Christ came to set us free, not free to do whatever we want because that would lead us back into slavery and our selfish desires. Rather, thanks to Christ, we are now free and able to do what was impossible before – to live unselfishly. Those who demand their freedom so that they can have their own way or indulge their own desire are regressing into sin. But it is also wrong to put a burden of law keeping on Christian as the Galatians were doing in Paul’s time. We must stand firm against those who would enslave us with rules, methods, or special conditions for being saved or growing in Christ.
We are saved by faith, not by deeds. Love for God and for others is the response of those whom God has forgiven. God’s forgiveness is complete, and Jesus said that those who are forgiven a lot, love much (Luke 7:42-43). Because faith expresses itself through love, we can check our love for others as a way to monitor our faith.
The Bible tells us that we will be persecuted for our faith. Many people do not want to hear the truth they only want to hear what they want to hear. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
Paul was persecuted because he was preaching the true gospel. If he had taught what the false teachers were teaching, no one would be offended. But because he was teaching the truth, he was persecuted by both Jews and Judaizers (those who adopted Jewish religious practices or sought to influence others to do so).
Have friends or loved ones rejected you because you have taken a stand for Christ? Jesus said not to be surprised if the world hates you, because it hated Him first (John 15:18-19).
Just as Paul continues to faithfully proclaim the message about Christ, we should continue doing the ministry God has given each one of us; in spite of the obstacles others may put in our way.
We should have freedom in Christ and should not be slaves to sin, because believers are free to do right and to glorify God through serving others in love.
When a believer loses the motivation of love, they become critical of others, they stop looking for good in people and only see their faults. Soon unity is lost. Have any of us focused on other’s shortcomings instead of their strengths?
We need to remind ourselves of Jesus’ command to love others as you love yourself (Mathew 22:39). When we begin to feel critical of someone, we need to make a list of that person’s positive qualities. When problems need to be addressed, we need to confront in love rather than gossip.
However; there will be times when we will need to confront hypocrites and people living in sin so that the honor of God in not blasphemed and the Christian church can be purified and strengthened.
That is what Jesus did: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:25-26)
If we desire to have the qualities defined and expressed in Galatians 5:22-23, which are “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”, then we will know that the Holy Spirit is leading us.
We also need to be careful not to confuse our subjective feelings with the Spirit’s leading. Being led by the Holy Spirit involves the desire to hear, the readiness to obey God’s Word, and the sensitivity to discern between our feeling and His promptings.
We are to live each day controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit. Then the words of Christ will be in our mind, the love of Christ will be behind our actions and the power of Christ will help us control our selfish desires.
Remember a born again person has freedom in Christ, because the Scriptures tell us: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1-2)