Sunday: Christ Has Set Us Free

“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.

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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.

Read Galatians 1:3-4; Galatians 2:16; and Galatians 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. 6:201 Cor. 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?


Sunday: Christ Has Set Us Free — 10 Comments

  1. Jesus, the Word of God, who become the Son of God to dwell amongst mankind, Who sacrificed His life in order to reconcile us back to God, taking us out of the clutches of sin and eternal death from which there is no return. How can we not be grateful for that? But do our life demonstrate our gratefulness for what Christ has done for us? Just like the children of Israel we forget God's goodness for us by allowing to be distracted by the things of the world. Lord help us to meditate on thy word day and night, so our lives continually show our gratefulness.

    • The time comes when we need to move on from meditation into action. Christ has set us free but that freedom is appreciated best when we share that freedom with others. It is no accident that Jesus reminded us to love God and one another. If our love for God does not lead us to love our fellow man, then our love for God is nothing more than selfishness. Jesus gave us an example in his own life; not to show us how to be saved, but as an example of how a saved person lives.

  2. In one sense we do bring to God a payment for our salvation: by faith we bring to God what he provided for us to bring to him, (the merits of the precious spilled blood of his own son Jesus at Calvary 2,000 plus or minus years ago.)

    • Pete

      I understand what you are saying, and in principle, I agree. The one thing I may amend is the concept that "we bring to God a payment." Rom 5:8 reminds us that while we still sinners, Christ died for us. This shows that the "payment" was made without us having done or having anything to offer God for our sin. Even our faith comes from God - Rom 12:3. All of our righteousness (doing right or doing anything efficacious) is like filthy rags - Isa 64:6. Jesus gets all the glory for anything that brings us closer to heaven.

      • There's a gospel song that says:
        "What shall I render unto God for all His blessings?
        What shall I render, what shall I give?
        God has everything.
        everything belongs to Him.
        God has everything.
        everything belongs to Him.
        (What shall I render),
        (what shall I give)?"

        Psalms 50:12 says -"If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof."

        What do you give to someone that has everything?

        Firstly, in that same chapter, Psalms 50, God continued to tell them that he didn't need their offerings and sacrifices, especially since they were a people that hate Instructions (paraphrasing, read it for yourselves).

        God wants from us what He always wanted from us, from the Garden of Eden to now; he wants us to glorify Him through our Christlike characters, and to love Him and our fellow man. It's that easy; however, our selfishness has made it complicated. That's why, only Jesus could fix the problem, by becoming the absolute and ultimate sacrifice to atone for our sins and to reconcile us back into a relationship with God, a relationship that Adam and Eve experienced before the Fall. That is what we should be praying for now, to have a closer (one-on-one) relationship with Christ every day. When we have that close relationship with Jesus, He will lead us to everything else that He want us to do (or give, see the rich young ruler). Be Blessed everyone!!

      • Fred Roberts, Isaiah 55:1 says, "Ho everyone that thirsteth come ye to the waters, HE THAT HATH NO MONEY, come ye BUY AND EAT; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (BUY AND EAT WITHOUT MONEY AND WITHOUT PRICE??????)

        I also agree with what YOU SAY TOO except for what I say in the next sentence.

        It is because of what Isaiah 55:1 says that I say that BY FAITH WE MAKE A PAYMENT with what GOD HAS ALREADY PROVIDED FOR US IN JESUS.

  3. Today's main text in the lesson boldly states that Christ has set us free from the chains of sin that enslave us. The slavery from which Christ has freed us is “trying to be justified by law” (5:4). God’s Law was never intended to be perceived as a means of earning salvation. Never forget that the freedom that Christ granted us is the freedom of grace (5:4). And when you put your faith in Jesus, He declares you not guilty because Christ paid the full penalty for all of our sins when He sacrificed His life at Calvary. Moreover, the freedom Christ gives us is firm and unrelenting. It was for this that He died, rose and is soon to return. Let us rejoice and keep our relationship with the Master. In Romans 8: 1 we read: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

    • Notice how Romans 8:1 does not say that there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but who keep the law and who walk after the works of the law." It clearly says "Who walk after the spirit." walking after the spirit means to walk in full trust of all god has promised to do for us that we cannot do for ourselves. We cannot cleanse ourselves from sin, but God promises to do that for us. We cannot forgive ourselves and others, but God promises to do that for us. Etc.

      But and also, walking after the spirit does not mean that we now keep the law sinlessly and flawlessly and perfectly either. It means that now we trust God to help us at every step of the way to learn to keep his law and that when we fail him in doing this, he covers us with his robe of his righteousness and we can still have his forgiveness, his mercy, and his peace and his joy, etc. along the way to his eternal kingdom.

  4. This lesson clearly reminds me of my helplessness . So many times we believe that our salvation is dependent on our doings but I am reminded that I cannot purchase my pardon so Christ has set me free. All to him I owe !!! Sin has left a crimson stain but Jesus washed it white as snow .. Thank you Jesus for deliverance.


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