There are so many types and examples of freedom that we could easily make a long list, but the specific type of freedom we are concerned with in this article is freedom from sin, or spiritual freedom through grace and how it affects our relationship with God and each other. Freedom is defined by Webster as “the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action”. Grace is “unmerited devine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification”, and “a virtue coming from God”. In scripture, grace is set in contrast to debt, (
Grace from God to man became necessary because of sin. Sin is an act of disobedience to divine law or the breaking of a covenant vow. Through the holiness of the Mosaic Law, the true nature of sin was manifested to the conscience of man, and “all fell short” of the mandates of the law (Rom. 3:23). The results/consequences of sin was man’s separation from God, (Isa. 59:2), beginning in the Garden of Eden with the sin of Adam and Eve. When Paul wrote in the first century that “all had sinned”, he was saying that for four thousand years not one single human being had avoided sin and the consequences thereof. The Law could not impart life or righteousness, “for as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse” (Gal. 3:10). But ” when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons”. (Gal. 4:4&5). “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15). And again in Heb. 2:14,
“---that He might render powerless him who had the power over death, that is the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives”. Grace upon grace, a free gift from God resulting in the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. “---for by grace you have been saved through faith. And that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8).
It is an awesome responsibility to speak for God, but today’s “guardians of truth” are not only speaking for our Creator, they bind where God has not bound. Rather than emphasizing the authority of truth, the emphasis is placed on the authority of the religious organization and the authority of leadership within that organization. Freedom in religion? Hardly. Organized religion is anything but free. The commandment of God (love God, love your neighbor) is made burdensome by man. Man’s code of ethics is far too demanding and extensive. Christ did not come to bind man to more law- He came to liberate. It is not the role of any man to limit the searching’s of any other person, nor to protect the “church” from the inquiries of others. Centuries of tradition and dogma are imbedded within our churches. Any suggestion of changes in worship or doctrine is met with immediate condemnation from the “protectors of the faith”, thus the “heresy” is condemned and the status quo maintained.
The book of Galatians is the apostle Paul’s manifesto of justification by faith and the resulting liberty. Paul directs this writing of Christian freedom to a people who are willing to give up the priceless liberty they posses in Christ. The oppressive theology of certain Jewish legalizers had been causing the believers in
How many of us have placed ourselves back under the “law”? Think about it. How many do’s and don’ts are we subjected to in our religious organization? For every rule (law) that we are under, we have lost the proportional amount of freedom. Jesus Himself said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. Freedom!