Freedom is a word almost universally treasured. We desire freedom, not only for the society where we live, but also for our personal lives. To many, freedom is not a concept readily associated with the church and the Christian life. Often unbelievers see freedom as incompatible with any kind of Christian experience. They view Christian faith as a kind of “ball and chain” that limits one’s freedom, or as a “crutch” that one uses only in time of great need.
However, we have seen quite clearly in our studies this quarter that Paul regards the Christian life as a life of wonderful freedom—from sin, from law-
keeping as a way of salvation, and from death. Paul has spent a major portion of his letter to the Galatians trying to help the Galatians understand their freedom in Christ and avoid returning to the slavery of the law. With today’s lesson we come to another series of issues relating to Christian freedom: What does our freedom in Christ allow us to do? How do we best exercise this freedom?
Many countries in our world have desired freedom for a long time. Often they have failed to learn from the examples of other countries that gained freedom, yet didn’t quite know what to do with it. These countries were not prepared for what living in freedom is like. They did not anticipate the adjustments in thinking and acting that accompany possessing freedom. The same thing can happen to Christians. Never forget that freedom in Christ carries with it certain responsibilities.
Even though a Christian living in the age of grace does not look to the law for salvation, this does not mean that a person is under no authority at all. He or she has changed masters, is now under the authority of Jesus, and seeks to please him. Love for God and love for others is meant to be the natural (or perhaps more accurately, supernatural) outgrowth of being saved and possessing the Holy Spirit. One commentator has observed that in Christ we are not free to sin, but we have become free to not si
Jonathan Underwood, Ronald L. Nickelson, and Jonathan Underwood, eds., The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2004–2005 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 2004), 325.