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Weekly Devotionals

God’s Freedom and Ours

Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. – ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭115:3‬ ‭

This week, we started a new Bible Study in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which is largely about freedom from the law, but not in a lawless, anarchist way. Rather, we have been set free from living under the demanding and oppressive aspect of law wherein we can never measure up and continuously fall short.

But where does freedom come from? Why does freedom exist as an entity? Why do the categories of freedom and enslavement exist? If these categories didn’t exist, what would our life and existence be like? A bit unimaginable.

The Christian understanding of freedom is rooted in the very nature and being of God, our Creator. God is free. What this means is that he doesn’t do anything out of necessity. God doesn’t create because he needs to, he creates because it is in his nature to do so, and he creates freely of his own divine will. God doesn’t save us because he needs to, but because he loves us and desires to rescue us as any normal parent would do for their child who is in grave danger. The compulsion that comes from necessity (need) does not drive God to move and to act. In this way, God is free.

So then, what does it mean for us — as human beings who have been delivered from slavery to sin into a life of freedom in Christ — to be free? And what are the implications for this free life that we’ve been given?

Typically we think of freedom in opposition to enslavement. But imagine that enslavement never existed. What would that freedom look like? It would be the ability for us to move and act in accordance with our will and our desire, but in ways that build up and not destroy. If our free acts lead to destruction, then inherently it will eliminate the conditions for freedom to flourish. An easy example is driving a car with no speed limit or rules of the road. Chaos would ensue, thus eliminating freedom.

Another opposite to freedom is necessity. When there is need, we are compelled to act, otherwise we will ultimately die. The easiest example is food. We need to eat in order to live. Thus, we are compelled to act due to our dependency and insufficiency. This is what separates our freedom from God’s freedom. God is completely sufficient in himself. We are not. There are needs that drive us to move and act so that we survive and do not die.

Nevertheless, there is a freedom into which and for which we have been set free. And this is what Jesus died for. It is a freedom where we are not bound by the accusing and condemning expectations of the law or any other standard of this world by which we measure our worth, status and identity in the eyes of ourselves, family, community, culture, society and God. And now that we are free from these expectations, standards and laws — as it pertains to our worth and identity — a whole new world has been opened to us to create, to move and to act in ways that build, expand and bring life wherever we go. This is freedom – the mode or way of being and living for which we were originally created. And the attitude of heart that motivates us to move and act is love — love for God and neighbor. Welcome to the world of grace.

Tony