I love football. I’ve grown up watching it and played it a little bit as well. Why do we love football? The collisions. We want to see who will plow over the other guy, or if the other guy will stand their ground.
That impasse when the player breaks free and there is only one man to beat. We love that in all sports. Will the last player be able to tackle, block, or make the play? They are being asked essentially to stand firm and to stop that player from scoring. I would like to challenge us as Christians to stand firm with the authority and freedom that we have received in Christ Jesus.
After a tough week about a week ago, I was really overwhelmed. I had fallen to temptations and I was very frustrated. I don’t remember exactly what brought me to Galatians 5, but this verse really encouraged me. I hope it will encourage you.
“Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)
There are five words that I want us to look at: Christ, liberated, free, firm, submit.
First off we look at Christ. Where does our freedom come from or better yet from who? Christ. He has liberated us. Who is us? Christians. Why has he liberated us? To be free.
Dictionary.com defines liberated as “to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.”
What were we set free from? Sin. How did Christ set us free from the bondage or imprisonment of sin? He lived the perfect life, fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies, died on the cross, took the sins of the whole world upon Him and rose again from the grave three days later to proclaim the defeat of sin and to proclaim the reign of His Kingdom.
So to back up, Christ has liberated us (freed us from the bondage of sin and death). He has liberated us to be free. That means to continue in freedom. “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10). The only abundant life out there comes from a life freed from the grasps of sin and death. True freedom is what Christ has come to offer.
This next section really got me. Stand firm. What does this mean? Standing is a pretty passive action. You don’t use a lot of energy to stand. Why does Paul use the wording firm? Its the difference between an active and passive gospel.
Are we surprised when the fiery schemes of the devil overcome us when we are not in God’s word or in prayer or in community? We shouldn’t be. We are setting ourselves up for a fail. We are living a passive gospel.
Standing firm has a different connotation. Grit your teeth. Don’t back down. Actively pursue Christ daily. Because if you’re not, you are by omission pursuing the flesh, and setting yourself up for a fail.
Why can we stand firm? Christ has liberated you to be free. It isn’t you that is fighting to be free anymore, it is Christ fighting through you and with you and in you. It His power at work. It His words that are slashing through the lies of the devil. You cannot stand on your own.
Lastly we see the word submit. The definition of submit is “to give over or yield to the power or authority of another” (dictionary.com). Don’t you have to possess the power or authority to give it over?
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Jesus was given all authority by His Father in Heaven. He possessed it. He claimed it. In light of that He gives that same authority to the disciples to go live lives empowered by this truth and authority.
In the same way, we have been given the authority through the freedom that Christ has laid upon us to not submit again to a yoke of slavery. We can say no. We can overcome through Christ’s power. We just have to realize that. We are no longer slaves. We are no longer in bondage.