Galatians 5:1, 13 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Liberty is a wonderful, beautiful and powerful gift of God. The Bible first mentions liberty in Leviticus chapter 25 found in the Old Testament, where every 50 years men looked forward to the freedoms found in the year of Jubilee. On this day every debt and debtor was released of bondage. In this year the land would rest from the toils of farming, so that it could rejuvenate and replenish itself. Slaves and travelers who indentured themselves would be released of their commitments and gain privilege to seek new opportunities. This year was truly a Jubilee of liberty like no other day.
Liberty is such a wonderful notion that is filled with blessings and opportunities that God desired it to not only be once every fifty years, but that it would be something men could experience every day of their lives. Since the sin and fall of man in the Garden of Eden, God has been moving towards and preparing for such a day of liberty. In Isaiah chapter 61, God tells of the day his son Jesus would come to earth and make this liberty possible. Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” What a beautiful proclamation and promise found in scripture to the coming blessings of liberty. However wonderful this passage is, it is only the “proclamation” and not the performing of liberty. Here we see liberty being promised only. Don’t be discouraged yet; liberty does not die out here in the Old Testament. Liberty was mentioned for the first time in the Old Testament as a proclamation for liberty, but when liberty is mentioned for the first time in the New Testament, Jesus is procuring liberty for all mankind. Jesus steps onto the world stage that is full of tyranny, bondage, sin and despair and he boldly declares liberty for all who trust him. Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” The prophet Isaiah spoke of the promise of coming liberty, but it was Jesus Christ who came to make that liberty a reality. When we trust Christ as our personal Savior we receive liberty from sin and death. We now have the opportunity to live free from the bondage of our sinful flesh which brought only corruption and catastrophe with each bad decision. Liberty in Christ gives us the freedom to say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit of God now living in us, directing us into the good decisions found in God’s word. Now we can daily find blessings as we serve and obey Jesus Christ.
As wonderful as this liberty is, there is a downside. We are prone to “use” liberty for selfish pleasures. God gives us liberty so that we can be free to serve him and help others, but too often the enemies of liberty would persuade us to use our freedoms to please ourselves. We are warned of this in scripture, from the passages we read first in the book of Galatians. We are not to “use liberty” for our fleshly lusts and desires, but rather we are to “Stand fast” in the liberty of Christ. It is our duty to hold high the integrity of the liberties and freedoms God gives us. Keep them for their intended purpose; to serve God and others. Yes they are a blessing and opportunity given to us, but they also carry a great duty and responsibility in upholding them.
God grant us strength and courage to stand in this sinful and selfish day. Please help us to never be selfish with our liberty, but to use our liberty to serve our God, our Family, and our Country, and to be ever mindful to meet the needs of others. Amen.