Read Galatians 5
Using the word “freedom” in a Christian context can often be confusing because so much if what we understand “freedom” to mean comes from the cultural context of the United States of America. We are the “land of the free” and any of our national symbols have become synonymous with freedom and liberty.
There has also been a struggle within the church in the United States which has wrongly portrayed civic duty and patriotism as being part of our “Christian duty” along with the notion that the U.S. is a “Christian nation.”
While it may be true that the U.S.A may have been founded using some Christian principles, mentioning God in historical documents and the like, but it doesn’t take a lot of looking around at culture to recognize that we are certainly not a Christian nation, at least not anymore.
When Paul talks about freedom in today’s passage, he is representing the freedom from the bondage of sin that is given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. He is also continuing the themes of the last several chapters, helping us to understand that our salvation is not based on works of any sort, but by grace through faith.
In this freedom, we are no longer bound by sin in any form and not required to perform any ritual acts to absolve us from those sins. Paul lists a number of them here, following it by a list of effects that freedom in Christ has on our lives. No longer do we need to look out for ourselves, but we are free to love others as Christ loved us.
I love the freedoms that we celebrate and far too often take for granted in the U.S. However, the freedom we have in Christ is so much deeper and greater than any human freedom could ever be.