Freedom in Christ

MEMORY VERSE: “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


HAVING explained, in the previous passages of the 4th chapter to the Galatians, the antitypical significance of Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, the Apostle Paul compares the Covenant of Bondage (which is illustrated by Hagar), with the Covenant of Grace (represented by Sarah), and then, in the words of our text, emphasizes the great doctrine of Christian liberty.

Liberty may mean different things to different people. To those who profess no particular love for God or a desire to worship and serve him, freedom may be interpreted to mean license to do whatever they please—whenever and wherever they want, without restraint. To others, who have respect for law and order and whose hearts are tuned to godly devotion, liberty is always confined to the bounds of truth and righteousness, with a consideration for the rights and feelings of their neighbors. To those of the “Isaac class,” on the other hand, Christian liberty carries the thought of freedom from worldly institutions, the doctrines and traditions of men, and the ignorance, superstition, and error that accompany them.

To the Israelites, who were under the Mosaic Law, there were many blessings and advantages in every way, as pointed out by the apostle. In his letter to the Romans (3:1,2) he says, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Yet the Jew, who had received God’s Law, was unable to keep all of its requirements and came instead under its curse.—Gal. 3:10

The blessings and advantages that were obtainable under the Law Covenant, however, were earthly, as were its curses. There was no provision for a complete release from the sentence of death (which had passed down to them as a result of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden) without someone keeping God’s commandments in full obedience to his will, and the laying down of a perfect life as a corresponding price for Adam. Our Lord Jesus, of course, by keeping that perfect law of God, released the nation of Israel from its peculiar curse, and at the same time redeemed the whole world of mankind.

The spirit of liberty is an important part of the spirit of Christ, and one in which we may share even at the present time. This would suggest to us the necessity of following in the footsteps of our Lord and Redeemer as the only proper course in life—following not according to the spirit of the world and its many allurements, temptations, and entanglements—but according to the spirit of love, truth, and holiness.

This is done by voluntarily surrendering all human rights, privileges, and preferences, and accepting instead the divine will and its law in our lives. And we should not overlook the fact that once this step has been taken we are no longer at liberty to do anything that is out of harmony with this new law. It will be necessary to consider carefully the various incidents of life as they come before us, lest the great Adversary, Satan, who as a roaring lion stalking about seeking whom he may devour, should tempt us from this narrow way of complete consecration and sacrifice to our Heavenly Father.

While we enjoy this blessed liberty, we are, nevertheless, still under bondage to Christ; that is, we realize that we are not our own, that we have been bought with a price, and that our consecrations are but a reasonable service, at best. Those who have this experience may testify to the liberating power of Christ in their lives, for true liberty, when it has been received and acted upon by the truly consecrated child of God, influences the heart and mind, as well as one’s whole life, and reflects the light that only comes from above. What a blessing to be liberated in this manner!

The world of mankind knows nothing of this liberating power at the present time, but must wait until the “times of restitution,” when they will be delivered from their condition of bondage to sin and death. During that future millennial day, when the sons of God—Christ the Bridegroom, and the elect church his bride—will be manifest in power and great glory as the divinely appointed priesthood and judges of the world, they will have the blessed opportunity of lifting mankind up out of that condition of bondage and assisting them also to stand in the liberty wherein Christ will make all free in due time.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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