Monday, November 7, 2005

Walking in True Freedom

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

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 5:1, 13)
Reflecting on these Scriptures, these two reciprocal truths strike me: First, it is impossible for you to walk in true freedom and not change the world in a very positive way. Second, it is impossible to change the world in a very positive without walking in true freedom.
    According to Paul, in this letter to the church at Galatia, true freedom is about loving, giving and serving. It is therefore an expression of the love of God, for God is love, and it is the nature of love to give and serve.

    In the beginning, we were created in the image of God, both to bear His image and to be His image on the earth. Adam and Eve were given the charge to be fruitful and multiply. Multiply what? The image of God.

    God’s plan has always been to fill the earth with His image — and with His love. That is why, when Adam disconnected from God in the Garden of Eden, God had a plan for restoration. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)

    Since we were created to be the image of God on the earth, it follows that we were made to show the love of God on the earth. That is the liberty by which Christ has made us free — to love, give and serve — in a word, to be like God. This is the essence of godliness.

    The spirit of religion says that we will be like God if we live by rules and regulations — the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In fact, that is what satan promised Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:5). That way always ends in death, not life; in bondage, not freedom.

    The Spirit of God leads us to the Tree of Life, living, not by rules, but by intimate relationship with Him. That is the true freedom Jesus talked about:
    If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:31-32; 36)
    Knowing the truth is not about the mind, but about the heart. The Greek word for “know” does not refer merely to head knowledge, but to an experiential knowledge, an intimate relationship with truth. Truth is personal — that is, it is found in a person. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” It is in knowing Jesus, entering into a personal relationship with Him, that we become truly free.

    The essence of true freedom is in loving, giving and serving — without obligation or compulsion. It is the pathway of God, who is the most free being in the universe. By faith in Jesus Christ, we are reconciled to God and set at liberty to walk that path in intimate fellowship with Him.