“What I am saying is that as long as an heir is under-age, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirits who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a salve, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” – Galatians 4:1-7
When we study the book of Galatians, written by the Apostle Paul, it is abundantly clear that we are no longer under the law. Paul continually refers to the law as a curse and says those who are still under the law are slaves. We are only justified through our faith. It is through grace alone that we are redeemed. When we understand that we are no longer under the law, many Christians begin to scratch their head. If we aren’t under the law, do we still have to obey it?
In Galatians 4, Paul compares being under the law to being a slave, but also to being an under-aged child. Both a slave and a child are not free. They do as they are told. We also see in Galatians 3:23-25, Paul refers to the law as our guardian. But now, we have this faith, and we don’t need our guardian any more.
More often than not, it seems Christians are asking all the wrong questions. I’ve said that before, and I’ll probably say it again. Yes, we have to glorious freedom in Christ. Our debt is paid, it is finished, He has won. Praise God! But, we use this freedom do live as we choose and cash in our ‘Get out of Hell Free’ cards (that was my Dad’s joke). This is not a new issue. In Galatians, Paul addresses that as well.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch our or you will be destroyed by each other.” – Galatians 5:13-18
Our walk with God and the freedom we have in Christ is not about how much we can get away with. We are constantly wondering how far we can push the limits. This is not transformation. This is not the Christian life. When we live by faith and indulge in the freedom we have in Christ, the desires of our hearts have changed. Sin is no longer satisfying. I love 1 Corinthians 10:23 which says, “I have the right to do anything, you say – but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything – but not everything is constructive.”
Yes, your debt is paid. God will continually forgive you. His mercy is abundant. But there is so much more to it. The law is no longer here to babysit you and be your guardian. There is nothing we can do to earn grace. The Bible tells us our righteousness is like filthy rags to God. But, sin is still sin. We cannot love our neighbor as ourselves, as Paul says, when we continually find ways to indulge the flesh.
Part of having faith, and living is freedom, is that we trust that God wants what is best for us. The law defined sin. God hates sin. He doesn’t want us to do it. Sure, you can sin, and God will forgive you. But…why would you want to? Why would you want to use this freedom to do something God hates? Why would you want to strengthen your flesh instead of your spirit? Why would you want to do something that God himself has said is harmful for us? Why wouldn’t you use this freedom to live the life God has called you to live?
Being under this freedom requires a certain level of spiritual maturity. Those who want very specific rules to follow are still very immature in their faith. Perhaps that was also part of the analogy Paul was making. Children need a very clear list of do’s and don’ts. Freedom is not for the faint of heart. It is for those who genuinely are ready to live their life fulfilling the purpose their creator has for them.