Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Galatians 5:1-12: Our Liberator
Mark and I would love to visit the beaches of Normandy and retrace the footsteps of the Allied armies on D-Day.
We’d be ready. Books and movies would prepare us. Details of fear, courage, heroism, suffering, and death would fill our minds.
After months of hard training, our soldiers entered the battle. Some were only eighteen years old. Intense sea sickness, heart dropping fear were just the prelude. The landing, especially at Omaha, was a scene from hell. The first troops were literally mowed down with almost 100% casualties. Later waves were wounded, maimed, but pressed ahead. Even after they cleared the beach, the battle had just begun. There was no going back.
It would be easy to focus only on the deprivations our soldiers faced, but that is only part of the story. They–and we–must keep their goal in sight. They came to free us. Hitler dominated the continent of Europe. They landed to make a beachhead of freedom, and from there to push back tyranny until it was eliminated.
For freedom they set us free. We are still standing in that freedom today.
A greater Liberator. I look forward to standing on those beaches and thinking about a greater Liberator. Jesus parachuted into our world, advanced on foot through mine fields and cross fire. He faced fear. He radioed for orders. He rallied the troops. In the last moments of battle his position was betrayed by a spy, he was deserted, maimed, and finally paid the ultimate price. He laid down his life.
A greater freedom. But he did it for a greater freedom. The freedom purchased by the lives of our soldiers on D-Day and beyond is precious. Our lives would be different today without their sacrifice.
But the freedom purchased by our Hero’s blood is even greater. It goes beyond external bondage. He freed us from internal bondage. Slavery to sin.
That is the freedom we are to cherish and hold onto today.
This week’s questions.As we move into Galatians 5 we are going to explore the vast territory of freedom. Christ has not just freed us externally from judgment, he has freed us internally from self-centered desires. Our very motives have changed. This is freedom at its best. Tim Keller writes:
The common sense definition of freedom is to be able to do what you most want to do. Paul is saying that in the gospel, pleasing and obeying God finally becomes what we most want to do. That is freedom! At last our deepest desires conform to the realities of the universe and our own nature.
Let’s learn freedom so we can live free.
1. Paul returns to the topic of freedom in Galatians 5:1. What is he saying in the two statements? What has Christ done? What were the Galatians (and us) to do?
2. What does it look like to submit again to a yoke of slavery according to Galatians 5:2-4? What might it look like in your life today?
3. What does it look like to stand firm in freedom according to Galatians 5:5-6? What two actions are involved on our part?
4. Who is calling them to freedom? Who is calling them away from freedom? What other words does Paul use to describe those who are calling them away from freedom?
5. How is Jesus revealed in Galatians 5:1? How is he greater than other Liberators, like Moses, David, Eisenhower or MacArthur? How does he offer greater freedom than other offers we find in our culture (e.g. freedom from aging, weight gain, bad habits, bad moods, etc.)
6. How has Christ been your personal Liberator? What has he freed you from? What legalism (like circumcision)? What lawlessness (like uncircumcision)?
7. Take a moment to think about the hope of righteousness. What would it look like for you to be free from all sin for even one day? Imagine it..and then eagerly wait for it! (You can repeat this exercise by thinking about someone else…then share your vision of their future hope with them).
8. What would you do with freedom if you had it? You do! By faith. How could your faith express itself in love today?