What does freedom mean to you? Here’s what Jesus said when He began His ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)
In Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia, he said: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Gal 5:1) Before Jesus died on a cross, God’s people lived under a detailed system of laws that served as a moral compass to guide their lives. The Law pointed the way to Jesus Christ (Gal 3:19-24), but by itself was powerless to grant salvation or produce true freedom. Through His sacrificial death, Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, setting believers free from the law of sin and death. God’s laws are now written in our hearts through the Spirit of God, and we are free to follow and serve Christ in ways that please and glorify Him (Rom 8:2–8). This is the definition of Christian freedom.
The devil is a crafty one, who uses half-truths that sound right, but are off just enough to lead us down the road to hell (which is wide). That’s why today’s Scripture ends with a warning: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Gal 5:1) Jesus came to free us from the chains to sin, which is death; satan has a different outcome in mind. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Jesus gave us a promise: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32, 36) The key is to abide in Him and to walk in the Spirit. “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16) So if you truly want to be free from the chains of sin which lead to eternal death, abide on the vine (John 15:1-17).
And instead of entangling ourselves again with satan’s sinful yoke of bondage, Jesus is ready to carry our burdens with us: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30) It’s a pretty easy choice, choose to serve One who loves you exactly as you are but wants the best for you–an abundant and fulfilling life–or serve satan who wants to destroy you. There’s no fence sitting on this choice, and your choice will affect you for eternity. If you don’t know Jesus, learn more about it here: Know Jesus!