We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. [Galatians 2:15-21]
Okay, so in the church, I think that we hear words like grace, salvation, freedom, righteousness, and justification a lot. And I think that we often can get so caught up in the theology and the systems and the “how” of everything, that we forget the simple truth. And the simple truth is this:
Because of Jesus, we are free.
Now, I know that there’s more behind that statement. I get that. However, when we put the semantics of everything above the truth itself, that’s where we get ourselves into trouble. That’s where we let doubt of less important things replace the truth that we already know. So, in this moment, I invite you to hold onto the simple truth that we are free in, because of, and through Christ Jesus.
But I also know that that’s easier said than done. It’s really hard to just shut down the thoughts that tell us to dig deep and to uncover every answer. I do want to dig a little deeper with you. However, I first want to tell you a story. I want to share the story of how God spoke to me about living in freedom.
My sophomore year, I lived in my sorority house. And I genuinely felt like God wanted me there, had purpose for me there, and was calling me to be a light there. However, instead of giving way to His easy yoke and light burden, I was miserable. I felt so much pressure to be perfect, both within and outside of my sorority. Any time I did any little thing wrong, I would actually feel sick to my stomach. Just to give you a little insight, these are the thoughts that would run through my mind if I did anything remotely wrong:
I failed God.
God is mad at me.
God doesn’t trust me anymore.
People will think that I am a fake Christian.
All authority that I have is out of the window.
I was genuinely just trapped in this thought process that was so wrong. I thought that my sin had the power to outdo God’s grace. I thought that if I did anything wrong, God would not want to use me because who would want to use a sinner? And beyond leadership and being used, in so many ways I wondered where I stood with God.
But eeeeearly one morning, everything changed. I was in bed, super asleep, when all of a sudden, the only way I can describe it, God just woke me right up. And immediately, I could almost hear these words:
“You need to stop living this way. Don’t you know that this is why I sent Jesus?”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Before Jesus came, people were made right before God by the Law. By abiding in the Law, God was able to see past the sin. However, life under the Law is hard. It can bring pressure and unhealthy religious mindset. But, when Jesus came, it changed everything. He fulfilled every purpose of the Law when He came as human, lived among us, died on the cross, and rose from the grave. He overcame our death and our sin. He gave us freedom.
WHAT DOES FREEDOM MEAN?
So, I think that freedom means a lot of things. However, I think in these verses from Galatians, one way that it can be interpreted is that we don’t have to live under pressure anymore. We don’t have to seek perfection. Because when Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, we were made clean in the eyes of God. Now, that doesn’t mean that we are free to sin (if you want more on this, read Romans 6!). But we are free to live without fear of judgement. We are free from the bonds of a religious spirit, and we get to live in a literal relationship with literal GOD!!!
HOW DO WE I LIVE IN THIS FREEDOM?
I think we just have to trust that God is who He says He is. And that when He died for us, it wasn’t with stipulations. When He says that He loves us, He means it. We just have to trust and have faith and where fear tries to speak lies into us, we get to choose goodness, gentleness, patience and peace. So, I just want to encourage you to read these affirmations over yourself. Even if you find it hard to believe them, I encourage you to speak these over yourself. Read them to yourself. Speak them aloud over yourself. Get in your car and yell them if you want to. Whatever feels right!!
I CAN TRUST WHAT THE GOSPEL SAYS
I CAN TRUST THAT GOD IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS
I AM LOVED
GOD LOVES ME
GOD TRUSTS ME
I AM FREE
I AM NO LONGER BOUND BY THE SPIRIT OF RELIGION
Also, I highly recommend this song. Whenever I feel myself wanting to live in a way of conditional grace instead of God’s grace, I listen to this song. Freedom is yours, my friend!
God, I thank You for who You are. I thank You for all that You have done. I repent that I have not fully accepted Your grace. I repent that I have thought that I am somehow more powerful than You are. I thank You that Your grace is never ending. That Your grace is reckless. I thank You that You see me through the lens of Jesus. I am Yours. God, take my yoke of bondage and please replace it with the banner of freedom! I love You, and I need You. Amen.