Sunday: Christ Has Set Us Free
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“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

Like the rallying command of a military leader to his wavering troops, Paul charges the Galatians not to surrender their freedom in Christ. The forcefulness and intensity of Paul’s tone cause his words nearly to leap off the page into action. In fact, this seems to be exactly what Paul intended. Although this verse is connected thematically to what precedes and what follows, its abruptness and lack of syntactical connections in Greek suggest that Paul wanted this verse to stand out like a gigantic billboard. Freedom in Christ sums up Paul’s entire argument, and the Galatians were in danger of giving it away. 1

Read Galatians 1:3, 4; 2:16; and 3:13. What are some of the metaphors used in these verses, and how do they help us understand what Christ has done for us?



Paul’s words, “for freedom Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5: 1, ESV), may suggest that he has another metaphor in mind here. The wording of this phrase is similar to the formula used in the sacred freeing (manumission) of slaves. Because slaves had no legal rights, it was supposed that a deity could purchase their freedom, and in return, the slave, though really free, would legally belong to the god. Of course, in actual practice the process was fiction; it was the slave who paid the money into the temple treasury for his or her freedom. Consider, for example, the formula used in one of the nearly one thousand inscriptions found at the temple to Pythian Apollo at Delphi that date from 201 b.c. to a.d. 100: “‘For Freedom, Apollo the Pythian bought from Sosibus of Amphissa a female slave whose name is Nicaea . . . The purchase, however, Nicaea has committed unto Apollo for freedom.’”—Ben Witherington III, Grace in Galatia (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), p. 340.

This formula shares a basic similarity with Paul’s terminology, but there is a fundamental difference. In Paul’s metaphor, no fiction is involved. We did not provide the purchase price ourselves (1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23). The price was far too high for us. We were powerless to save ourselves, but Jesus stepped in and did for us what we could not do (at least not without forfeiting our lives). He paid the penalty for our sins, thus freeing us from condemnation.

Look at your own life. Do you ever think that you could save yourself? What should your answer tell you about how grateful you need to be for what we have been given in Jesus?

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Sunday: Christ Has Set Us Free — 8 Comments

  1. The leason of this qarter is very interasting we have to trust in God after studing this leason so that we all will inherit the kingdom of God together

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  2. The death of Christ on the cross truely set us free from the bondage of sin. Our role is to accept Him and from there we are counted as the heirs of His kingdom.

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  3. Yes, in Christ we become sons and daughters of God, heirs with Christ of the kingdom He has redeemed for the human race.

    I think the account of the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15) illustrates a lesson here.

    This young man says to his father: "I served you faithfully all these years, obeying all your commands but you never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends".

    The elder son thought he was serving his father faithfully “these many years” in his father’s house, but it was in the spirit of bondage and not in the spirit of a son. His unbelief blinded him to His father’s love and to his own position in the establishment.

    The father replies:
    "Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours."

    Continually abiding in the Father's presence is the privilege of a son.
    And, not only did the son own the goats -- but the whole inheritance was his!

    We need to contemplate that concept—that the child of God has the blessed privilege to live his life in fellowship with God.

    And consider the next awesome privilege:

    “All that I have is thine.”
    God has given us His own Son; and in giving Him, He has given us all things that are in Him. Through Christ He offers us forgiveness of confessed sins, He has given us life, His love, His Spirit, and an everlasting inheritance.

    If we are to stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has set us free, (redeemed us from the very pit of hell) we must recognize and acknowledge the unbelief in our hearts that questions whether Christ really has the power to redeem us, and whether we are really sons and daughters of God.

    This is not about whether we obey or not. Recognizing his true position with the Father would not have released the elder brother from working the farm with his Father, but he would have done so with an entirely different attitude!

    Recognizing and accepting that Christ has set us free from sin and we are adopted as sons and daughters of God gives us an assurance of God's continual presence, love and power in our lives as we come to Him daily in trust and thankful humility! And we no longer work as slaves, but as sons and daughters of God, co-heirs with Christ!

    It is a person's own unbelief which prevents God from doing His work in us. Unbelief is the mother of disobedience, and of all sins and short comings—temper, pride, selfishness, worldliness, sins of every kind. Unbelief keeps us away from God's presence, not because God wants it that way, but because that's what our unbelief does. It builds a wall keeping God at a distance from intimately being involved in transforming our lives.

    Look at that elder son, and ask why was the son working as a discontented slave for his father when he was in actuality the beloved son and heir of his father?

    Why didn't he recognize his true position as a son? Why didn't he recognize the generousity and love of his father? Why weren't they working together as a team in a loving relationship?

    Unbelief utterly blinded the son to a sense of his father’s love, and so he missed out on the privileges that could have been his all those years. And if we are performing simple to buy merits in the hope that God will accept us, we too are living in unbelief of what God through Christ has done for us.

    The result of believing is not disregard for God's commands, but by believing we come into God's abiding presence and by dwelling on His Word, His love and being led by His Holy Spirit, our lives are brought into conformity with God's will.

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  4. Reflection:
    If Christ gave himself for our sins, to rescue us from the present evil age; why then would we want to get ourselves entagled up again with our sinful nature?

    Why would we want to go back to the sinful, carnal way of life after Christ has already freed us from it?

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  5. QUESTION
    1cor 10.25 'eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,
    v.26, for 'The earth is the lord's and everything in it(psalm 24:1)

    Colosians 2.20,21
    'since you died with christ to the basic principles of this world,why ,as though stil belonged to it, DO YOU SUBMIT TO ITS RULES:
    V.21 DO NOT HANDLE! DO NOT TASTE! DO NOT TOUCH!

    Galatians 5.1
    'stand firm,then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a YOKE OF SLAVERY.
    My question is, are christians subjected to the food laws?

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    • For me, Enoch, the short answer is yes. In context, I Corinthians 10:25 is about food offered to idols, not about clean and unclean foods. (See verse 28.)

      In Colossians 2, I am sure that Paul was referring to the same rudiments of the world as in Galatians. What is the issue in Galatians? Some desired to be under (the dominance of) the law, while Paul was encouraging them to maintain their freedom in Christ -- to have the outlook of the heir and owner, not the attitude of a slave. This issue applies even to the law of ten commandments, so freedom in Christ is not the freedom to abolish appropriate law, but the freedom to obey it willingly, from the heart.

      I believe that the food laws, as a minimum, are certainly still appropriate.

      God bless!

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  6. Christ Has Set Us Free

    This caption reminds me of a popular story – the story about a truck driver who stopped on his way to give a ride, to a passenger who seemed burdened by a heavy load on his head. At some point on their journey, the truck driver glanced through his driver’s mirror to see how the passenger at the back was doing. To his surprise, the passenger was seated but with the load back on his head. The truck driver decided to stop to find out what was going on. The passenger replied that he was so thankful for the ride, that he thought he could express his gratitude by at least helping to carry his load.

    Could this be the same implication when we say, we are thankful for the cross but then turn around and work to earn our salvation?

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