G5 Day 1

G5 Day 1

The Galatians 5 Woman is Free

“For freedomChrist has set us free; stand firm therefore,

and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

I fear freedom. I’m much more comfortable with constraint, with walls, with boundaries. Leaving behind my worry, stress, fear, doubt and anger seems dangerous to me. After all, those things are working for me, planning my future, protecting my present, but then I read these words from Galatians 5, “For freedom Christ has set us free.”Honestly, freedom is the last thing on my priority list. I don’t think I’ve ever pondered my freedom, ever prioritized looking at it over my busy schedule or my worries of the day. I’m more of a bondage kind of person; I prefer a good jail cell to the freedom of no walls. In a cell I know my boundaries. In a cell I know the rules, and I can follow them easily. That’s why I’ve always said, “Just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.” I like following the rules, but not more than I hate breaking them. Just look at my words from my book A Woman Overwhelmed:

“I can get overwhelmed by my what to-do lists, no question, but for me, it’s more about my “what-not-to-do-list.” I frankly work much better with negative inspiration than positive. Tell me what not to do and I’m like Gail Carson Levine’s main character in Ella Enchanted— unable to disobey.

I just love the law! It’s so neat and tidy, and when I obey it I get an A-plus! Nanny-nanny boo-boo!

Of course, it can be overwhelming having to be perfect all the time, but I believe that perfection suits me better than the alternative. So I run myself ragged trying to collect enough stickers to fill my obedience chart before anyone else: A-plus!” [excerpt from AWO]

Yeah, freedom isn’t anything I’ve frankly ever considered a focal point of my day. Like I don’t wake up thinking, “Today is all about freedom. Let’s get our free on!” No, instead I most often wake up under the yoke of my schedule. There’s too much to do to be free, I mean, let’s be real.

I realize the idea that freedom costs too much, that I can’t spare the time to be free is just me calling God a liar because His word says, “For freedomChrist has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery,”and I say, “Uh, but freedom is a luxury this busy woman just can’t enjoy. Maybe once I’m older and unable to do stuff, then I can try out, air quotes: ‘freedom.’ There’s just too much to do today!”

Sometimes in order to experience freedom, I pretend like I’m actually free by making my own rules, setting my own plans, controlling my own life, andeveryone else’s. “I will be ruled by no man, and I will let no man mess up the life I’ve created for myself,” I shout along with the image of Braveheart’sWilliam Wallace dancing in my head. This shows up when I ask someone else to do something for me, like wash the windows or fill the dishwasher, and then I review their work only to find that they’ve done it all wrong. Then of course I am compelled to fix it. Like if you put the toilet paper on the roller incorrectly, I cannot live with this infraction, I must fix it, and in a weird turn of events, the freedom I claim to have to run things my way turns into bondage to my way, and suddenly I have become the way, the truth and the life for myself and everyone in my sphere of influence. It’s my way or the highway! I did it my way and you better do it my way too, because I am the way! In this never ending loop, I find myself unable to control, well, myself, and like Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll, my selfis messing up all my relationships. If you haven’t read the classic book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,I suggest you pick it up. It really is an excellent analogy of this giving of ourselves over to our dark self, and “freeing” our minds from the constraints of Christ. It beautifully reveals how there are two parts of us, one part wants to be faithful to Christ, but there is another that wants to do whatever it wants to do. We love God, we accept His Word, but then when life starts to move towards us, our self life takes over and we don’t get back to Him until we lay our heads on our pillows and thank Him for another day.

Can you relate? Do you struggle to make God the priority of your life? Are you living in freedom or bondage to something other than Christ?

 

What is freedom to you?

 

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The Galatians 5 woman is free because for freedom Christ has set us free. But what are we free from? Free to do?

 

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Let’s take a look at Romans 6:15–23.

According to this verse we can be a slave to one of two things. What are those two things?

 

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Now look at verses 20-21: What does it say slaves to sin are free from?

 

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What do you think is the fruit of this slavery to sin he is talking about?

 

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According to verse 18, what have we been set free from upon receiving the Holy Spirit? _______________________

 

What does it mean to be set free from sin? _____________________________________________________

 

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What are you now a slave to? _______________________________________

 

 

Take a look at verses 22-23 now. What does the fruit you get from this slavery to God lead to?

  1. ________________
  2. ________________

 

Sanctification is a powerful thing, so let’s make sure we understand it. According to Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary sanctification is “the process of God’s grace by which the believer is separated from sin and becomes dedicated to God’s righteousness. Accomplished by the Word of God (John 17:7) and the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:3–4), sanctification results in holiness, or purification from the guilt and power of sin.1

 

So according to this passage in Romans 6, what two things can you say we have freedom from when our lives are dedicate to God’s righteousness by His grace?

  1. ________________
  2. ________________

 

 

Freedom from Guilt and the Power of Sin

 

You’ve heard of high frequency words in a language; Words like, “the, this, a, of,” etc. These are words we use every single day and in every single conversation, but when it comes to the life of Christ and the gift of God’s grace there are a few low frequency words that we can use to describe what God has given us in His Son, and one of them is propitiation. Propitiation is Jesus satisfying the law for us, by taking our punishment, because the punishment for sin is death.Jesus’ death on the cross was his act of propitiation. It’s a beautiful thing that means we are no longer guilty for our sin because He was punished for it. Through the act of expiation,another big word, whereby our guilt is taken by Jesus, we are free from guilt. And while this is a fact for every believer, it is not always our reality. Guilt is the normal reaction to sin in a temple of the Holy Spirit, AKA a believer (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Guilt serves a great purpose, it leads us to repentance when we recognize how we have disagreed with God and not done what He commanded. When we experience guilt for say, lying, we realize that what we did was wrong and we tell God something like, “I was wrong when I lied. I’m so sorry.” Then, if we know our theology, we follow that up with, “Thank you for your forgiveness!” Because God promises forgiveness if we confess our sins(See 1 John 1:9). As we see in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “godly grief (guilt) produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief (guilt) produces death.”

 

What two kinds of grief, or guilt, do you see in this verse?

 

What does each one lead to?

 

Bad Guilt

 

Bad guilt is what I like to call the worldly guilt he is referring to in this verse. Bad guilt is one of three things:

  1. It can be the guilt you have because you believe that God cannot forgive you.
  2. If you should confess, bad guilt is the guilt you continue to feel afterwards.
  3. Or bad guilt can be the sense that God isn’t dealing harshly enough with your sin and so you feel compelled to punish yourself in order to pay for your mistakes.

 

Many of us struggle with the bondage of guilt, all the while knowing that Jesus took our punishment for us and set us free from the penalty of sin. But still we hold on to the guilt and refuse the freedom that Christ’s death has given us. Are you living with, or have you experienced any of these kinds of bad guilt? Do you know that this is the guilt that Jesus set you free from? So, why do you keep ahold of it, keep it chained to your ankles? For freedom Christ has set you free; so stand firm, and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery to sin, that includes the guilt you feel because of sin.

Holding on to your guilt is like standing before the cross of Christ with your arms wrapped tightly around your sin and trying to keep it from being lifted and placed on the Son. Do you really think you are as powerful as that? That you could resist the very gift that God had planned for you since the foundations of the earth? In a tug-o-war with God you will not win, so why do you hold on so tightly to the sin meant for the cross? Because of the propitiationof Jesus we are free from guilt, He took our punishment so that we don’t have to be punished or punish ourselves, now that’s freedom.

So what kinds of bad guilt are you living with? Think about this for a minute, and uncover all that sin that you have been holding onto.

 

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If you are harboring bad guilt subconsciously you are relying on works to save you, believing that the cross isn’t enough, but that you must supplement it with your efforts, fix its flaws and complete His work. Freedom in Christ is freedom from depending on your works. It is leaning into the wind of God’s grace and trusting it to support you. “I’m not good enough for God.” These are words of slavery. They keep you in the chains of sin from which Christ has already given you the key.

 

“For freedomChrist has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”Once you have the Holy Spirit living in you, you are free from slavery to sin. Christ has set you free. What does this mean to you? Freedom is a beautiful thing, but how do you feel about living in it? A lot of us fear freedom, it’s too dangerous to our plans, or to-do lists. We think perfection is required, the house must be kept up, the kids must be obedient, the marriage must be perfect. These are not words of freedom but of bondage. “I have to be perfect. I’m not enough. I will never be enough, so I have to work harder,” are words of slavery. Punishment is not your job, perfection is not your job, your job is to surrender your life with all of its mess to the life of Christ and to allow this life to become your everything. In that surrender you will find freedom from self.