For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
— Galatians 5:1 ESV
This scripture is one of my favorites. I love the simple message that it conveys. Christ came to earth, lived amongst people just like you and me, and died a horrible death on a cross — for what? As stated in the text, it was so that we may be free.
One of my favorite movies is Shawshank Redemption. In the movie, Ellis Boyd Redding, played by Morgan Freeman, is the central character. Ellis had committed a crime as a young man and paid the price by living imprisoned for the majority of his life. He regretted what he had done those many years before, but had virtually given up any hope of ever seeing the sun rise or set as a free man again. He is eventually paroled but struggles to make the transition to freedom from the bars that held him for all those years. Although free, he considers committing another crime at one point in order to return to confinement because it is what he knows and has grown comfortable with. There is something before him, however, that glimmers the light of hope. It keeps him moving forward.
My favorite scene is toward the end of the movie when Ellis is walking on a white sandy beach with a blue sky above and the sound of the ocean’s waves coming ashore. With a wide smile on his face, the expression of freedom speaks silently and clearly. He is free at last.
Let’s go back to the key verse from today. We understand that Christ came to set us free, but from what? This is the wide-open part of the verse that stirs me. Fill in the blank for anything that has ever held you captive. He came to set you free from that very thing (or those very things).
Close your eyes for a moment and envision yourself kneeling before the cross of Christ. The chains that have kept you bound during the course of your life are lying around you, but they have been broken, no longer restraining you. This is why Christ did what he did.
This week, we have been focusing on the keyword victory. The mental image described above depicts exactly that: the victory that Christ won, once and for all, on our behalf. When he was nailed to that cross, uttered the words, “It is finished (John 19:30)”, and three days later arose from the grave, the victory was complete. The enemy could never steal the victory of freedom away from Christ, from you, or from me.
If you’ve read through this devotional and recognized that the enemy has restrained you in any way, Christ desires that you walk forth in freedom and not look back. Today.
If you’ve never personally experienced the victory that has been won for us, it is a simple process. But Christ leaves it up to each of us to accept this freedom. Right now, I encourage you to acknowledge your sin, believe in Christ’s saving power, confess your sin to him and ask for his forgiveness. It’s that simple. If you would like to accept that freedom, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our pastors would love to answer any questions you may have, guide you and/or celebrate your decision with you.
If you’ve already accepted Christ but have recognized areas where the enemy entrapped you with chains, if you have been set free but are tempted to, as was Ellis, repeat patterns of sin because that’s what you know best, I encouraged you to embrace the latter part of today’s scripture: stand firm in the freedom which you have as a child of God; do not submit any longer to the yoke of slavery intended to keep you from the fullness of complete freedom in Christ.
Keep moving forward in your faith and don’t look back. As Jesus tells us in John 8:36, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”