“For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.” (Galatians 5:13-15)
Today we remember our nation’s declaration of liberties that are God given. Freedom for some can bring hardship to others if not tempered with justice, grace, and mercy. Let us also remember that freedom costs and lives were given for an honorable cause, that brought an independence with responsibility to all.
Luther stated, “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”
Freedom is at the very heart of the gospel and of godly living. It is not a side benefit or an adjunct to the Christian life. God has called all believers to freedom. Into what are we called? We are called to liberty. The Christian is free. Free from the guilt of sin because the believer has experienced God’s forgiveness. The believer is free from the penalty of sin because Christ died for the believer on the cross. And the believer is, through the Spirit, free from the power of sin in daily life. The believer is also free from the Law with its demands and threats. One day, when believers get to glory, we will be free from the presence of sin.
Believers have “Freedom in Christ”. In Galatians 5:13b-15, Paul gives four purposes of God’s call to the freedom of loving Him:
- To oppose the flesh (Galatians 5:13b),
- To serve others (Galatians 5:13b),
- To fulfill His moral law (Galatians 5:14), and
- To avoid harming others (Galatians 5:15).
Lord God Almighty, in whose name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have the grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.