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Do you live more like a free person or a slave? A free person lives without the burden of guilt and shame. Guilt is like a ball and chain. It slows you down and in some cases, it might completely immobilize you. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus died so you can be free of these horrible burdens.
God introduced the Gospel to us 430 years before He introduced the law (Galatians 3:8, 17). It’s the law that tells us we are guilty (Romans 3:20). The Gospel is based on the promise God gave to Abraham and Abraham’s response in faith. This established the means of salvation well before we even knew about the law.
Faith in God’s Promise Equals Freedom
Salvation is activated by faith (believing God honored His promise in Jesus Christ), not by works (self-righteous acts that attempt to fulfill the law). When you want to know if you are an heir to God’s promise, you only need to verify that you take God’s word (His promise) as the truth. If you believe it, then you are a child of God: a new creation with a spiritual connection to God.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.Galatians 3:26-29 NIV
Anyone can activate their salvation, if they can believe. God does not discriminate between His creation in any other way. It doesn’t make a difference if you are a Jew or you are a Gentile, a slave or free, a male or female, you can gain access to God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Once you have this access by faith, you must continue to maintain the access by faith. God’s way liberates you from the burden of fulfilling the law through your own effort. Paul encourages those of us whom Christ has set free to never return to the old ways.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1 NIV
In fact, because of what Christ has done for us, attempting to follow the law is always a wasted effort. Anyone who attempts to achieve salvation through works must fulfill the entire law (Galatians 5:3). Our effort or lack of effort counts for nothing.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.Galatians 6:6, 6:15 NIV
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.
Being a New Creation Equal Freedom
Are you a new creation? This is the same as asking if you have been born again. Have you experienced a spiritual rebirth (John 3)? If so, you have been set free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). You are no longer a slave; you are a child of God (son or daughter).
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.John 8:34-36 NIV
Reach John 8:31-47. Jesus makes a clear distinction between those who belong to Him and those who don’t know Him. What burdens are you carrying that you no longer need to carry? Set them down. You are free.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.