Pastor Gary Giddings, Sand Lake, MI
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Gal. 3:13
What is “the curse of the Law”? It is God’s judgment upon us for failing to live up to His standard of what is right. As humans, we tend to justify ourselves and minimize any wrong we have done. We like to think that we are “good.” We can readily see the need for others to be punished when they do wrong, but we easily gloss over our own wrongs. We tend to think that we are “good” or at least “mostly good.” But what does the Law say? “Honor thy father and thy mother … Thou shalt not kill … Thou shalt not commit adultery … Thou shalt not steal … Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor … Thou shalt not covet” (Ex. 20:12-17).
These are things that concern our relationships with other people. But more importantly, what about our relationship with God, the One who created us? “Thou shalt have no other gods before me … Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God … Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (Ex. 20:1-7).
We, as a people, are cursed for failing to live up to God’s standard. This failure to “hit the mark” is called SIN. It is a problem for ALL of humanity. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” But Jesus is the answer for this! The word REDEEMED in Galatians 3:13 means “to buy up, to ransom, to rescue from loss” (Strong). It also means, “to buy out,” especially of purchasing a slave with a view to his freedom” (Vine). What does this mean for us? When Jesus RESCUED us from sin and its destructive ways, we were given FREEDOM. When we were born-again, we didn’t just transfer from one slave-master to another, but we were MADE FREE. What good is it to leave one slave-master for another? Maybe another master would treat us better, but we would still be slaves and not free. God doesn’t ENSLAVE us. He doesn’t force His will upon us. God doesn’t treat us like property because He created us in His own image and He loves us.
Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks. He ASKS us to open the door. He doesn’t use trickery or force to gain entrance. No, He patiently waits for us. God sees YOU, the person. He wants to have a personal relationship with you through Jesus the Son. This is where FREEDOM begins. Knowing what this means to have FREEDOM in Christ helps us to understand why we see all kinds of behaviors, good and bad, in Christians. Some may question their own salvation or the salvation of others because “Christians don’t do that” (whatever is questionable or obviously wrong). Just because you said a prayer and let Jesus into your heart is NO guarantee that you won’t ever do wrong again. You were SET FREE to make your own choices.
God has given you the wonderful GIFT of SALVATION: What will you do with this gift? Only when you GIVE YOURSELF to the Lord will this relationship with Jesus really begin to make sense. Only then will we continue to experience the life that God has for us. When we let Jesus take over the throne of our heart, this is how we continue to find joy and satisfaction! Rom. 5:1-2, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We can’t put a price on this PEACE that we have in Jesus. We can rest knowing that we belong to Him and that He will take care of us. We are His children and we are in His FOREVER FAMILY. We are not God’s SLAVES, we are God’s CHILDREN. We have been REDEEMED, we have been SET FREE. What are you going to do with this FREEDOM? Are you going to use it to worship and serve the Lord or are you going to use it for other things?
You are FREE to please God or to please yourself. You are FREE to do what is right or what is wrong. God isn’t going to take away your FREEDOM TO CHOOSE, but He will let you know the results of your choices: there is CAUSE AND EFFECT in the spiritual realm also. When we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption. Sin in our life will hinder us and wear us down.
Paul enjoyed his freedom because in Christ he was a New Creation. He lived that way. He didn’t let his Old Creation live long enough to spoil his freedom. Rom. 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? First we listen, and then we yield and obey. Will we obey the Spirit or the flesh? The one we listen to will be the one we will serve. That is why it is important to fill our mind with the Word of God and to pray. When we listen to the Spirit, we will not want any of the destructive ways of the flesh.
I Cor. 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power [control] of any.” I Cor. 10:23, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify [build] not.” Paul saw that he was FREE to do anything. But he learned to say “No” to that which would control him and keep him from enjoying HIS FREEDOM in Christ. He also stayed away from that which wouldn’t BUILD HIM UP in the Lord.
Titus 1:1a “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ …” Why did Paul call himself a SERVANT to Jesus? He knew his Old Nature very well and he wanted nothing to do with it. Only when he COMMITTED himself fully to Jesus could he know and experience LIFE, LOVE, and LIBERTY. SALVATION is free to “whosoever will.” It doesn’t cost us anything because Jesus paid the price for our sins. He said, “It is finished” (Paid in full). But to become a DISCIPLE (follower) of Jesus will cost us something. To follow Jesus on a continual basis involves a COMMITMENT on our part. You may be a BELIEVER in Jesus, but will you dedicate yourself to Him? Don’t just be a BELIEVER but be a FOLLOWER of Jesus. Give yourself totally and completely to Him and He will never disappoint you. As born-again Christians, we are REDEEMED. We were taken out of the slave market and MADE FREE. When you use your FREEDOM to worship and serve God, you will find your greatest fulfillment and contentment. But if you use this FREEDOM to live according to the world, the flesh, and the Devil, you will be ensnared and brought under its control for a time. Let us use our FREEDOM to serve and to worship our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is worthy!