Free At Last
by Rob Dunne
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
Clank! The heavy iron door slammed shut behind me. This happened several more times until I was ushered in to a whitewashed room with a metal table bolted to the wall. The guard closed the door behind me and locked it shut with a large skeleton key.
This was a temporary situation. I was meeting with a client to sign paperwork. Once done, I would be allowed out of that dismal room with my freedom fully restored. Losing that freedom, even briefly, was enough to persuade me that nothing is worth losing something so precious.
Recently, I have been spending time in the book of Galatians. The Apostle Paul started the church of Galatia which is in modern day Turkey. Paul preached that salvation and the restoration of our relationship with God came by grace.
Shortly after establishing the church, a group of men known as Judaizers joined their ranks. These were Jewish converts who were trying to convince Gentile (non-Jewish) believers that they had to adhere to the law of Moses and be circumcised to receive salvation.
The Mosaic law is comprised of 613 rules. To stay in right relationship with God, you had to keep all 613 perfectly. James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” It is an impossible standard meant to show people their need for Jesus.
Jesus established a new covenant for us. Our relationship with God is no longer based upon our performance. Rather, it is a free gift. In order to receive it, a person must confess Jesus as their Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead. Pretty straightforward.
In truth, I struggle with grace. People are rewarded when performing well. I tend to judge others based upon how well they are performing which results in self condemnation when I realize I don’t live up to my own standards. It’s the whole, how you judge others is how you yourself will be judged.
Let me tell you something; God has absolutely no interest in your performance.
Did you miss church last week? Forget to read your bible today and spend an hour in prayer? What do you mean you didn’t pay your tithe? God is gonna get you for that! Or is He?
Our performance doesn’t move God. He doesn’t withhold His love or benefits when you fall short and He doesn’t hand out extra portions when you exceed expectations. Jesus paid it all. He fulfilled all of the requirements of the law. He already paid the penalty for your sins – past, present and future. There is absolutely nothing that you can add to the finished work of Jesus.
Jesus’ sacrifice breaks the chains of bondage that is religion and performance orientation. When you spend your life following rules and performing, you live in constant fear. You worry about whether or not you are doing enough to deserve God’s love and approval. Stop that and get out from under that yoke of bondage.
God is love and He loves you no matter what. His greatest desire is to know you and be known by you. Break off the yoke of bondage and spend time with your heavenly Father. It is in that place of intimacy where you will discover what it means to be truly free.