“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…..Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.”
Gal. 5:1,13
At one time, some 150 kilometres of concrete and barbed wire encircled East Berlin, effectively imprisoning all those within. While prosperity and freedom were the experience of those in West Germany, those behind the Berlin Wall knew only oppression, injustice and tyranny. At the risk of their lives, many attempted escape by digging tunnels, by ramming the wall with armoured vehicles, and even by flying homemade hot air balloons. Tragically, a great many freedom seekers, on orders of the East German Government, were gunned down by those who occupied the 186 guard towers built into the perimeter of the wall.
Bondage and slavery – until November 9, 1989! The winds of change were blowing! The wall was beginning to fall! The guards were opening the gates! The citizens were celebrating! Freedom had come at last to East Berlin! Germans, who had yearned for freedom, for so long, poured through the opening wall in magnificent celebration and unbridled joy! To entertain even a notion that some would choose to return to bondage and enslavement after having tasted liberty, is absolutely ludicrous and preposterous!
You and I have been set free from a far, far greater bondage than that of communism in East Berlin. We have been set free from the righteous curse of God in response to our breaking of His holy law, and from our enslavement to sin! Paul’s great charge to the Galatians, and to us, is: “Stand firm! Do not submit again to a yoke of slavery!”
What is that yoke? That yoke can both be obedience to the law, as well as disobedience to the law. The law of God, even though it is holy and good, will enslave you, if you attempt to use it to gain salvation! Freedom is found only in the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ! However that truth does not provide a license to sin – because sin, which is disobedience to the law, also leads to bondage and slavery!
May we respond to our freedom in Jesus with magnificent celebration and unbridled joy, and may we ever be on guard against two yokes of slavery, one suggesting that our obedience can save us, and the other suggesting that our disobedience matters not. May we be increasingly filled with love for our one true Saviour!