It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1 (NIV).
What is the true meaning of freedom? Is it a right, the absence of constraints, or liberation from moral absolutes? For the Christian, it’s none of these. Freedom isn’t entitlement or self-indulgence. Nor is it a license to sin. Rather, it’s a sacred trust – a responsibility of the highest order. It’s doing what we should, and not what we want. It’s living within God’s righteous constraint and, all told, it’s something that isn’t selfish – it’s serving others with an attitude of love.
“Man is … everywhere … in chains” Rousseau. In the Galatians story the chains were legalism in the guise of circumcision. Our chains are different. We’re limited by problems, constrained by pettiness, shackled by pride, and locked into daily struggles for prosperity.
So who can set the captives free? Is there a politician, a multi-national businessman, a general of a powerful army, a philosophy, an ideology or a religion that can guarantee freedom? Is there anyone or anything that can break the shackles that constrain us? No, prisoners can’t release prisoners.
But that’s not the end of the story. While the door to freedom can’t be opened from the inside, it can be opened from the outside. There is One who holds the key to our freedom – Jesus Christ. If we want to be free, really free, then we must ask the Liberator to release us (John 8:36, Luke 4:18, Romans 8:2, Galatians 5:1).
Here’s the rub: Real freedom only exists in Christ. All “freedoms” outside of Christ, eventually turn into a new servitude. For freedom to endure; it must begin through faith in Christ, continue through obedience to Christ, and reach its greatest heights through the love of Christ. Why? Because true freedom isn’t independence, it’s interdependence with Christ.