It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1
Many of the apostle Paul’s letters to the early churches describe difficulties that the church was struggling with. In his letter to the Galatian churches, Paul rebukes them for getting caught up in rules and regulations. They were so concerned with following the letter of the law that their legalistic attitudes and judgmentalism overtook their desire to live by and share in the love of Jesus. Paul wrote this to say it was not the way life in the church was supposed to be.
Living a life of obligation and requirements and trying to live into the expectations of others is a heavy burden to bear—even if those requirements and expectations have good intentions. The joy of resurrection life in Christ frees us to live with love for God and neighbor without the burden of legalistic expectations. No one ever gets it right all of the time. But with the Spirit of Christ guiding us, we aim to live by grace and love in Jesus’ name, following his example.
In the remaining days of this month, we’ll reflect on what it looks like to live in the freedom of Jesus Christ. In this freedom we are released from the effects of sin and death so that we can live as God intends us to: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
O Lord, your mercy has set us free. What a gift! May we accept the gift of freedom you offer us in Christ, and may we freely offer it to others as well. In the spirit of your love, Amen.