Reading: Galatians 5
Summary: Genuine freedom in Christ does not mean that we simply do as we please. That only demonstrates that our lives are dominated by the flesh and not by God’s Spirit. True freedom is found in Christ, and Christ is in us when God’s Spirit is in us, and God’s Spirit is in us when in our lives are born the fruit of the Spirit.
Freedom and God’s Spirit
Freedom, like love, is oft-discussed but infrequently understood. We like it, we want it, we’re just not real sure what it is, though we think we do.
Unfortunately, freedom is typically defined in terms of the absence of restraint. That’s not true. Our own nation is typically considered the freest nation on earth, or at least it has been. Yet, our lives as citizens of this nation are governed by laws. These laws regulate behavior, protect its citizens and provide the framework in which our considerable freedoms are exercised. We’re free from tyranny, unfair treatment, lawlessness, and undue government control—that all, of course, is theoretical and true to some degree.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1). That does not mean a lack of restraint. We should not use our freedom in Christ as an “opportunity for the flesh,” that is, to just do whatever we please (Gal. 5:13). Our behavior is restrained, it is controlled and it is guided; all by God’s Spirit. Proof of such is the fruit that Spirit bears (see Gal. 5:22-23). In contrast to that is fruit born in a life without restraint, that is lived by the desires of the flesh (see Gal. 5:19-21).
The life of no restraint is characterized by negative, destructive, alienating attitudes and actions; while the life of freedom, lived by the Spirit, is one of joy and peace and goodness and so on.
Yes, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free!