A task every believer should always take upon himself is distinguishing between the freedom of Christ and the freedom of the world. In the present fast paced, career oriented, commercial, self-centered and competitive world it is very easy to set aside the freedom that Christ with great effort has given us. The reason we see unbelievers in continual slavery to something or someone is because they are stuck in the freedom of the world. In the name of free world they claim the right to do many things which masks them from true freedom. The world offers falsified freedom. While it provides with one hand it takes much more away from the other. It is for this reason that unbelievers cannot enjoy a life of peace, comfort and strength. They are always striving for security and in the process become slaves to things without which they would fare well. Freedom of Christ firstly makes us secure. On the contrary, freedom of the world keeps in slavery by the burden it inflicts. So, the Spirit in Paul had this to remind Christians. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).
If we are saved having experienced the grace that lightened our burden, we certainly concur with the Holy Spirit. Christ did not die needlessly. It was for a purpose He died and it was for a project of the Father He gave up His life on the cross. If a believer is under a yoke of slavery, he has gone back into the world and is struggling. He is losing his all. Slavery is widely common in the Old Testament times and remained for many years after the Romans. It is still prevalent in some parts of the world. It signifies oppression. It does not contain freedom. It gives no right to express or claim and puts a person in it to all sorts of harsh, unjust and painful treatment. When one slips into the world from the freedom of Christ, he or she is enslaved by its wicked power that puts them through many unbearable incidents and times. It is so vicious that until they willfully seek Christ’s interjection they cannot be freed.
Being subjected to Christ’s freedom is good. Who does not want to become a slave of something that is good? What I mean is if something is eternally valuable, profitable as well as morally right we do it and want to do it over and over, since it brings no fear, shame or guilt, but glory and honor. Being in the freedom to which Christ set us free is such. When in it, we only do the right things knowing there will be no repercussions. One realizes it by being rid of all sin and guilt by grace. Grace fills the heart with freedom and confirms it in the bestowing of the Holy Spirit. Now a person truly realizes the difference between freedom and the slavery that disguises itself as freedom. As long as we extract from Christ’s freedom, it is impossible for discouragement, frustration, loss, sadness, sin, guilt, shame and fear to chain us. We do the right things. For we are entitled to many acts, emotions and thoughts on which there will be the stamp of the Spirit.
God desires we live as free people both in spirit and flesh. The freedom to which Christ set us free is understood only when it is first received as freedom from sin and death. Though you are saved, if you subject yourselves to the freedom of the world, you cannot make the most of Christ’s freedom and will gradually lose its understanding. You can always stand firm in Christ’s freedom to which He set you free. A principle to it can be deduced from the following. “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (2 Thess. 2:3). Once you are in grace the only way Satan can get you back into the world is by your defection. So, he brings apostasy to you. It may be a false teaching. Equally, it may be an evil or unprofitable desire that he is able to form in you. However, you can recognize his apostasy by the endeavor of the Holy Spirit who is already in you. If you on your part are willing to grasp His promptings, you overcome. Nothing suddenly falls on you to break off from Christ’s freedom. If sin takes its stand in you, you are overcome and lawlessness will be revealed in you leading to undesired results. You see the process to subject you again to the yoke of slavery. Facing it will be a fight, sometimes a fierce one.
The world is dramatically going toward slavery to sin. It is becoming all the more difficult to find firm faith and incredibly difficult for the younger generations to embrace faith in Christ. We who are of faith can do something. And we must dive into the words of Paul that said “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:14). God has poured zeal on us along with His Spirit when He redeemed us. Many lose zeal, as they do not carry with them the firmness received from it at the time of salvation. They could not carry it, because they did not look to God for supply. Then the Spirit too is made to quiet down. With zeal God by the Spirit will lead us to great and victorious things. Zeal will not allow us to the things that subject us again to slavery. Consider the following “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John” (Rev. 1:1). The apostle knew what his reaction should be to God’s redemption. He sustained zeal. Thus, we have a great work from him called the book of Revelation. As a banished to the island of Patmos he became victorious. If you realize you are God’s possession and have continual zeal, He will turn out before you with opportunities you do not expect and will honor you.
God provides you strength and guidance for every opportunity He presents you. For the world you face is completely enslaved to slavery that calls itself freedom. “And he said to me, ‘The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues’” (Rev. 17:15). The world does not know it. The harlot governing all flesh, even many church-goers, is sin. When you who are called to enjoy the inculpable freedom fall back into slavery and are in need of redemption, you not only inhibited His calling, but also His opportunities.
Remember friend, whatever you embrace by it you will be bound and live. If freedom of Christ then freedom and if freedom of the world then slavery. “Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?” (Rom. 7:1). Everything the world shows us is temporary and inconsistent. So, it keeps changing its forms and acts. At times it even defies rationality. Sin has the power to keep it that way. It is always bubbling with new things. One thing we must do is weigh their origin and appearance. Every act and form the world produces ends in failure of sorrow. It only goes from failure to failure. Subjecting ourselves again to the world means going from failure to failure never to see the light of victory.
However, when you stand firm in the freedom to which Christ set you free, if indeed you are set free, you will not be disappointed. God will visit you with opportunities according to His habit. “In the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness” (Luke 3:2). His word will come to you in the most amazing way, even in the most difficult of times.