The Apostle Paul was deeply concerned after finding out how his friends in Galatia abandoned God’s grace for the burdensome yoke of religion. These ‘born-again’ believers were caught up in dead works. Reduced to slaves, they denied themselves of their freedom, working vigorously to secure their spot in heaven. Somehow they bought into the idea that salvation is based upon man’s performance rather than on God’s promise. Paul likens this type of legalism to paganism.
“But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.” (Galatians 4:8)
This is true of every believer. There was a time each of us served something as if it were a god, but it wasn’t a god at all. While it had no authority over us, we bowed to it regardless. Your god may have been money, a career or a hobby. Perhaps it was a drug that dominated your life. Or maybe it was a person. Whichever the case, you answered to another master besides the true and living God. While you may not have realized it at the time, you were in bondage. Someone or something had a tight leash on you. Instead of ruling it, it ruled you. Then Christ set you free!
Before the Galatians came to Christ, they bowed to useless idols. These so-called gods were not all that different from you or me. They may not have looked human, but they were believed to have human appetites, emotions and interests. It’s for these reasons they were idolized. They epitomized our most basic instincts and deepest desires. This offered man a convenient means to worship his own nature. Indeed, pagan worship is self-worship.
While modern man may not bow to carved images, self-worship remains the most popular form of worship even today. Jesus turned this idea on its head when He declared, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34) This golden rule is an absolute impossibility when our focus is inward. It requires a radical paradigm shift, from a self-serving mindset to a mindset of serving others. This is how the Christian exercises his or her liberty.
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)
The flesh offers only one thing and that is bondage. There is no getting around this. Whether it’s sins of the flesh, or works of the flesh to satisfy the law, the end-result is always the same: you become a slave. Deliverance is found in Jesus alone. Once we embrace Him we embrace love. When we embrace love, we embrace the highest form of freedom.
Allow His love to rule over you, in you and through you. Freedom never tastes sweeter than when we do.
Love like Jesus!
Sunday Morning at 9:30 & 11:30am
Wednesday Evening at 7:00
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Calvary Chapel of Austin Church
1601 Pecan St., Pflugerville, TX 78660