The entire book of Galatians is about our freedom in Christ. Paul talks about it over and over again, writing to a church that seemed to be struggling with it.
Theses words in Galatians 5:1 really sum up all of the arguements Paul has been making. He builds the arguement, lays the ground work for this statement, in the first four chapters of Galatians. The last two chapters begin to flesh out the details of what Paul is talking about - practically living our freedom.
This verse stopped me recently. I got stuck on it for a while as I realized more about the implications of it for our lives.
"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 paid the price for our sins through His death on the cross. He then set us free from the power of sin through His resurrection. We can't earn that freedom. Any attempts to earn it become new forms of slavery in our lives. We have to be intentional about standing firm in our freedom and not letting another form of slavery be put on us.
As I reflected on this verse, I kept coming back to a couple of questions:
-Why do we so easily burden ourselves with a yoke of slavery when we've been set free?I suppose, those are really two sides of the same question: Why was it necessary for Paul to write these words - to his original audience and to us?
-Why do we struggle do much to live the truly free that Christ has given to us?
I think in our search for the answer we don't need to any further than our flesh nature and the society we live in. These words in Galatians 5:1 go completely against what they tell us. We're told that we have to earn everything - that nothing we receive really comes without strings attached. Even when someone gives us a gift, we struggle to accept it. Sometimes overtly, but more often quietly, we look for a way to repay the giver of a gift.
I think that's why we so easily burden ourselves again with a yoke of slavery. We're really bad at receiving gifts, especially when we don't feel like there was a reason why we earned it. But this freedom that Christ brings us is a gift we can never earn or repay. All we can do is accept it. That's what makes it so beautiful and so difficult all at the same time.
How are you doing with the gift of freedom Christ has given you?
Have you accepted it as a gift?
Or, are you putting yourself in slavery again by trying to find a way to earn it or repay it?