We all sang Adele’s Hello from the top of our lungs, danced late into the night as the snow fell and the fire leapt in the night outside. We worshipped with abandon and felt the Spirit of God rest on our hearts to burn with unending truth. We laughed at the table, and gathered with our sisters. We are the free. We are the fruit long awaited. When you pull it close the scent says summer even in the midst of winter your mouth waters and you know this is real. Found by him. We are the daughters of God.
Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father— to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:4-5
Freedom only begins from the point of rescue. The word deliver in the greek is exaireo which denotes not a removal from, but a rescue from the power of.
The rescue is not from the world but rather a removal from the power of the world which separates us from God.
Most of our lost stories are stories of separation. Thanks to Malia for the best example!
And the rescue is God’s work. His work clearly seen from the beginning in Genesis.
9“The patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt. God was with him, 10 and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
Joseph participating in the will of God sold into slavery, but God was with Him and rescued (exaires) him out of all his afflictions.
Joseph multiplied the freedom given him, and gave the benefits to an entire generation both Israelite and Egyptian. All were preserved from famine. His brothers who had harmed him are restored to Joseph. Joseph is free from the hate, not from the pain or the circumstance but from it’s ability to harm him, or control him. He is free and God is with him. He chose to stay with God.
God always gives us freedom to choose. Joseph could have chosen to renounce God after all he had gone through slavery, wrongful accusation, the loss of his family and position. We have a daily choice to trust in God or not. A choice to let God be the rescuer or to try and do it on our own, by ourselves, for ourselves. Chose wisely.
Freedom once established even in one person extends itself, into political and social relationships and culture. All of Egypt was influenced by Joseph’s rescue (exaire) and his God.
You are called to freedom. Freedom is exciting, what will you do with this free life offered you? A word of caution. Paul writes “do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.”
“Freedom that is not expressed in love annihilates: We must love one another or die.” Traveling Light, Eugene Peterson
Free humankind motivated from coupled with love holds a wild beauty. It is the energy of God and God’s children. The scripture says all of creation groans for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed. (Romans 8)
These sons and daughters are unique in the world.
They refuse to feed the compulsions of selfishness. Found by the Father they are wild and free. Free to make mistakes. Free to choose what they will do with their lives. Two ditches are in each side of the free path. One that says I will do as I want similar to the prodigal son. This son or daughter responds I have no need of the gospel and saving grace of Jesus Christ. He or she wants the wild ways of sin and self-interest. Danger.
Galatians 6:7-8 The Message
7-8 Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
The other side is the one who is bewitched by standards and laws. Church culture can become a spell of comparison. Never secure of their “grace approval” they begin to trust in their acts of righteousness. How God has used me. How I no longer sin like I used to. How much I further the gospel. How many followers and fans I have. Approval ratings through performance. Acceptance through cultural standards.
The Message version of Galatians 5: Preserve Your Freedom
5 Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, it means that Christ is of no use to you at all. 3 Once more I warn any man who allows himself to be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the whole Law. 4 Those of you who try to be put right with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace. 5 As for us, our hope is that God will put us right with him; and this is what we wait for by the power of God’s Spirit working through our faith. 6 For when we are in union with Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor the lack of it makes any difference at all; what matters is faith that works through love.
7 You were doing so well! Who made you stop obeying the truth? How did he persuade you? 8 It was not done by God, who calls you.
Both ditches are not on the free path. Both will lead to slavery. One slavery to the flesh, hating and defending your lifestyle. The other once you start putting stock in your performance you will never be secure. Nothing makes us more secure than the complete grace assurance of God’s love. Both ditches say, “I no longer need Christ.”
The Galatians Study by Timothy Keller teaches us we are far more loved than we know, and we are far more sinful than we know. So we can be both confident and humble. Bold and compassionate. Christ has set us free and in our liberty stand firm.
Freedom is an opportunity. “Today, when you have the opportunity do good to all people.” Gal. 6:10
An opportunity to feast at the table of our Father, to be the cause for the party, because we are found. An opportunity to humbly love other’s while they are still far off from the Father. An opportunity to respond in gratitude rather than fear of punishment. Realizing our Father’s hand is tender towards us, rather than raised and ready to strike at our rebellion. His hand is extended to help, to hold us when we are weary, to welcome us home again and again and again and again. We are far more loved than we know. You are approved. You are accepted completely. You are pre-loved before any action worthy of love is taken. You are pre-forgiven. He calls you by name to know Him, to know peace, to know grace, to know compassion, to know joy, to know acceptance, to come alive, to live free.
To be known is to be loved.
I Cor. 8:3 But, if anyone loves God, he is known by God. God’s knowing of us is absolutely fixed and solid.