by Roland W. Keith
Before Christ came to earth man was not at liberty. Yes, people had free will, and could do as they pleased for the most part, but they were not truly free. At least not spiritually. They were bound by the Law— and the Law of Moses was a burdensome task master from which one could not separate himself. It was his guardian, accuser and executioner. Once you had violated it there was no extrication from punishment. Only through ritual practices of substitution (blood sacrifice) was its final verdict held in abeyance even for those who were faithful. As Paul told the Galatians, “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:24-27).
It was Christ who set us free from the bondage of the Law of Moses. It was in Him that the old covenant and its system of law was replaced by a new covenant and a new system of law— the law of liberty, under which mercy triumphs over judgment for the faithful in Christ (James 2:12). In Romans 3:21-24, 27, we read, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law [of Moses], although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus… Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.”
When Jesus came He offered all men freedom from the eternal punishment that awaited them under the old Law (Revelation 22:16-17). Yet there were (and are) many who refuse His invitation, even among those who study the scriptures (II Corinthians 3:14-18); for those who turn to Jesus, however, the veil that separates man from God is lifted (v. 17).
Finding freedom in Christ is not without risk, however. With new-found gain there are often temptations, even in the spiritual realm. We must not abuse what we have gained, as Paul warned the people of Galatia, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:13-15).
For those who avoid such temptations and stay the course there is great reward, as James noted: “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:25). According to James one must remain true to the law of liberty, also known as the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2), to attain its blessings.
The apostle Peter also encouraged his readers to remain faithful to the freedom gained through Christ when he wrote, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (I Peter 2:15-17).
One day not only man, but all of creation will be set free from the corruption caused by sin (Romans 8:19-24). Until that final day those of us who hope in Christ must be strong, resisting the one who would separate us from God, as Paul wrote, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery… For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love” (Galatians 5:1, 5-6).
Jesus once told His listeners, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free… “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:32, 34-36). If you have been set free from sin there is no greater place to be in your life, for as Paul explained to the Romans, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). If you are free hold on to that freedom that leads to heaven’s gate, if you are not free I sincerely hope that you will be one day soon.
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.