April 28, 2021

Suggested Reading: Galatians 4:8-10

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.—Galatians 5:1

It’s pretty easy and common to put weight back on after taking it off. After all our hard work and effort to take off unwanted pounds then realize months, or even years later we are back where we started or even worse. When we get on the scale or cannot fasten our favorite jeans (which is usually our first indication) our eyes are opened, and may become discouraged and sometimes disappointed in ourselves but the good thing is that we can set our mind to do the things we know help take those pounds right back off.

The Apostle Paul wrote about becoming enslaved again. Not to food but regarding spiritual beliefs and practices. Jesus went to the cross to free us from the grips of Satan, so that we do not have to live under the influence or mastery of the devil. Jesus did all the hard work for us; we did not have to do anything except believe and have faith that his work on the Cross of Calvary was enough and brought salvation and liberty to all people, including us. The moment Christ died, just as he said, it was finished. The requirements of the Law were fulfilled, and we were free people.

We can imagine a prisoner sitting behind bars for a terrible crime and knowing they are serving a life sentence, but one day the guard comes and says, “You are free to go.” And just like that they are set free! That is what happened when Jesus died. When he emerged from the grave, he came to tell everyone “You are free to go; free to live, no longer enslaved to death or the devil.” And just like that we were set free! Now Christ says, I have freed you from your cruel oppressor; from the prison of death and the grave, don’t volunteer yourself to become imprisoned or enslaved again; don’t return to the prisons I have released you from.

The Apostle Paul was genuinely concerned for the Galatian believers who had worshiped idol gods. Formerly they did not know about the One true God nor his Son Jesus Christ. But Paul came and through his ministry and teaching they learned who the true, all-powerful, saving God was. It was more than disturbing to him to learn some were reverting to old beliefs and practices. In his letter to them he admonished them and urged them strongly to discontinue the things that would enslave or imprison them again. Imploring them to continue living in the freedom Christ Jesus secured for them.  

What might Paul say to us today? Would he be concerned if he saw some replacing truth with lies or no longer interpreting God’s Word as the true word or embracing spiritual practices that are not grounded in the Scriptures or rooted in Christian doctrine or even living life shaped by worldly superstitions? Unquestionably he would give us the same warning he gave the Galatians thousands of years ago. He would not only implore us to return to that which we know to be true and real, he would also encourage us to keep living in the liberty for which Christ has set us free. Through his words we can hear him saying, dear friend, “It is for freedom Christ has set you free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Be careful of anything or anyone that comes to persuade you otherwise. Let’s Pray    

God it is for freedom Christ set us free. We have all been slaves to sin at one time, enslaved to the devil and prisoners of death but when Jesus died on the cross, he set us free not only from sin but from death and the devil. Guard us from returning to our former way of life, beliefs or any practices which imprison us.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Reflection: how do Paul’s words and exhortation to the Galatian believers  inspire or encourage you today?            

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