If you are a free and bold Christian, you will face all kinds of pressure. You will be criticized. You will be looked down on as less of a Christian. You will find yourself thinking of the days when you didn’t make waves, when you were a phony, when you were dishonest…and when you were liked by everyone.
And, as a result, there will be times when you will want to go back to the very prisons you escaped from, the prisons—of failure, perfectionism, religion, the past and the like—that deprived you of your freedom in Christ.
Paul’s surprise at the Galatians should not have been a surprise when he wrote: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6).
We can “slip back into the darkness” quite easily. And it’s serious business: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us…” (Galatians 3:13). “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
I want to offer some help in holding the land of boldness and freedom. It is very valuable land, bought with a terrible price…the blood of Christ. Let’s check it out.
The Community that Shares the Land
Don’t forget the community that shares the land: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load” (Galatians 6:1-5). “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” (Hebrews 12:1).
As Luther pointed out, we must remind one another of the Gospel lest we become discouraged.
Let me tell you something. There is a fellowship of the free and it’s everywhere. In your new-found freedom and boldness, you are not alone. Across the Church, Christians are discovering the ways to get out of the prison. You can hear them laugh in the strangest places.
When you find them, you will share the secret…
The laughter of the redeemed will echo and those who are still in prison will wonder what’s so funny.
Your responsibility will be to tell them.
Time to Draw Away
Read 1 Corinthians 12 & 13, Ephesians 4:32
Do you feel like you’re the only one who “gets” grace? As Christians, we’re called to community and it’s simply impossible to do this thing alone. So take the risk and search out others who are free in Christ. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. The family of the free is multiplying. And freedom is contagious.