April 8 I Wednesday
1 Samuel 10-12
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh…”
—Galatians 5:13, ESV
The culture of our North American western society talks a lot about freedom, stressing our freedom of speech, freedom to love and freedom to live however we want. This kind of freedom could be described as freedom from control and morals. We may even interpret this freedom as, “I get to choose what I want to do and whom I become because I am in charge of my own life now.” The reality, however, is that this type of freedom is not the biblical freedom that Paul talks about in his letters.
In Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, he writes, “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). God rescued us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we believe that Jesus took our sins upon the cross and brought us freedom from the law, our lives have been transferred from one master to a new master. Paul explains this in his letter to the Romans, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).
Our freedom from sin does not mean we can live however we want. John Stott explains, “Christian freedom is freedom from sin, not freedom to sin.” Our freedom does not mean there are no boundaries. Paul tells us, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh” (Galatians 5:13). The word “indulge,” or in some translations “opportunity”, is the Greek word aphorme. It is a military term used when a military base is about to launch an offensive attack.
Paul warns us not to use our freedom from the law as a base of operations to indulge in our flesh or as a base of operations for loose living because that is like being released from prison and then trying to figure out how to break back into prison. If we saw a news story that said a prisoner was set free, all the charges were dropped against them, they were let go from prison, and then they spent the next week trying to break back into prison, we would think that person had lost their mind.
We have been set free for so much more; we are freed to live as Jesus lived. May we take our freedom in Christ as well as Paul’s words to heart and “live by the Spirit, and [we] will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
Prayer: Christ Jesus, thank You for rescuing me from the kingdom of darkness and bringing me into Your kingdom of light. I ask that I do not misuse my freedom to gratify the flesh but live as You lived.