By: Dr. Jeff Fuller
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 (KJV)
I have been spending time with this verse for the past week. Within the entire letter to the Church, Paul has many words of instruction for the Christian life and this verse is the one which has truly made an impact on my life. I pray you too will be inspired by it today.
I read recently:
“There tend to be two pitfalls when it comes to living a life of “freedom.” Most people tend to be on one side where a true, genuine, real relationship with God is too difficult, so they choose to follow a set of do’s and don’ts to make them feel connected with God. Then on the other side, there are people who think freedom in Christ means that you now get to live however you want to live, free of any consequence because you get to go to heaven. At some point or another, most likely all of us have been on one side or another.”
As a believer you cannot stand on the fence. You cannot have the world of evil and the world of good. You cannot serve both. We are reminded in scripture:
“No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” Matthew 6:24 (CSB)
We have to make a choice.
Paul says, “Stand fast…” If you are a believer, then stay where you are because as one who has received grace, you are free from the things that bind and restrict; you have been made free from the flesh and fear.
This freedom we enjoy in the spiritual realm has given us deliverance from sin. In this freedom we do not have to strive to achieve our own righteousness based on the works of the flesh. We have been saved by grace, through our faith. This grace that gives spiritual freedom was paid for by the precious blood of the Lamb of God-Jesus Christ-on the cross of Calvary. By making the decision to follow Him as His disciple, you have been saved, delivered, freed. Therefore, walk in freedom
Two things this scripture says, that need to apply to us:
One, “be not entangled again.” This speaks of being oppressed or subject to the former life. The way of sin is no longer to have dominion on the believer. Entangled in the way of the world, in the sin and shame of failure will cause you to fall.
“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (CSB)
Secondly, completely throw off the “yoke of bondage.” A yoke oppresses, controls. The yoke is the apparatus used to control a domesticated animal and the Jews referred to the “yoke of the law” as a good thing, the essence of true religion. Yet, Paul argued that for those who pursued it as a way of salvation, the law was a yoke of slavery. For the believer, the yoke of bondage has been traded for a yoke of grace. This is not oppressive, as Jesus said:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (CSB)
When we submit to God’s work of cleaning our lives, changing our lives, and preparing us for the ultimate reward then we will see the freedom we have as believers with eyes of wonder.
Until next time…
(Dr. Jeff is pastor of Rockford Baptist Church. You may reach him through the church office at 256-377-4900 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)