No Returns

by Tammy Phillips

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

A man was locked away for years. A woman was trapped in an abusive marriage. A couple was saddled with heavy financial obligations. A child was bullied relentlessly. And then, they were set free. The man smiled at the sun warming his face and the woman’s divorce became final on the day she moved into her new apartment, thousands of miles away. The couple’s tax problems were solved and the little boy’s grandmother sent him to a new school.

Would the man go back to prison and ask to be returned to his old cell? Would it be wise for the woman to return to her abusive husband? Should this couple skip some tax laws that would surely put them back into bondage? Would the little boy appreciate it if his grandmother returned him to the school that ignored his cries for help? Of course not!

Each person was set free and surely not one of them would return, deliberately, to their place of pain and bondage. One of the definitions for freedom is “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved”. So who would go back? Too often, we do.

Our Lord Jesus Christ with His life, His blood, His death, His resurrection and His ascension paid the price God required. Mankind could not possibly keep the more than six hundred commands referred to as “The Law” found in the first five books of the Old Testament. These laws were the hallmark of the Israelites’ relationship with God. Breaking these laws required sacrifices involving dead animals. God prescribed this remedy, but it was woefully inadequate and temporary. So Jesus paid the price. His sacrifice set us free from the penalty of sin and the bondage of sin.

Those who admit they are sinners in need of the Savior Jesus Christ are free. So how do we enslave ourselves once freed?

  1. Listening to and following false prophets.

Charismatic preachers and teachers are utilizing every communications means possible to spread a message that is contrary to the inspired Word of God. Paul cautioned the Galatians about listening to false prophets (verses 7-10). There are no alms to give or penance to do. Faith in Christ is what is required.

  1. Not walking and living in the Spirit of God.

We naturally want our own way, but the Spirit wants His way. And the battle rages for dominance. The more mature we become, the more we should be willfully yielding to the guidance of the Spirit of God. God knows best. (verses 16-18)

  1. Giving into fleshly desires

According to verses 24, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” If we are truly God’s children, then we are not living a life of sin. Temptation is inevitable. But giving in is a choice and the choice takes away our freedom in Christ and can lead us back to enslavement.

The man is now a leader in his church’s prison ministry. The woman has new friends and a thriving business. The couple participates in mission trips. The child is on the honor roll. They did not turn back and give up their freedom. Neither should we because Christ has set us free.

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