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Freedom In Christ Has Boundaries

Galatians 5:13-15

            Are you under grace as a believer or under the Law? Do you think the world thinks when a person gives their life to Jesus that they are free? Or does the world think that our lives of believers are a bunch of do and don’t rules?

True freedom can only be found in a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ, but that same freedom cannot exist without boundaries.

Freedom and discipline have come to be regarded as mutually exclusive, when in fact freedom is not the opposite, but the final reward, of discipline. It is to be bought with a high price, not merely claimed. For example the Olympic skater and the race horse are free to perform as they do only because they have been subjected to countless hours of grueling work, rigidly prescribed, and faithfully carried out. Men are free to soar into space because they have willingly confined themselves in a tiny capsule designed and produced by highly trained scientists and craftsmen, have meticulously followed instructions and submitted themselves to rules which others defined.

Freedom is not free, with freedom comes responsibility, we have to decide what we will do with our freedom in Christ. In our country we have been given freedom, the problem our country is having is that we have forgotten that with freedom comes responsibility. But we also need to remember that we don’t earn God’s gift of eternal life or even God’s favor by our works or discipline, we receive them by grace alone.

Jesus said in John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Christians also have responsibilities that come with our gift of freedom. We have to decide if we are going to use the gift of freedom or abuse the gift.

Galatians 5:13-14, You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”


Galatians 5:1  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Another translation says,  Christ has freed us so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom. Therefore, be firm , and don’t become slaves again.

Our call authorizes believers to lay claim to their freedom, and It challenges believers to use their freedom responsibly. Paul begins by explaining our calling: we are called to (freedom) liberty. The Christian is a free man. He is free from the guilt of sin because he has experienced God’s forgiveness. He is free from the penalty of sin because Christ died for him on the cross. And he is, through the Spirit, free from the power of sin in his daily life. He is also free from the Law with its demands and threats. Christ bore the curse of the Law and ended its tyranny once and for all. We are “called unto liberty” because we are “called into the grace of Christ
JOHN 8:31-32 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
Notice the implication and responsibility that comes with freedom.
Our freedom is something that we can use for God and his kingdom, or it is something that we can abuse and use for our own selfish benefit. We can take the freedom that we have and use it as a license or turn it into legalism.
Many feel that when you become a Christian that you give up your freedom, what you give up is your slavery to sin.


A. Turning our freedom into license.

In his book, Rebuilding Your Broken World., -- Gordon MacDonald states. In early 1988 Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales, and some friends took a skiing trip to Switzerland. The shocking news came one afternoon of a terrible accident caused by an avalanche in which one of the prince’s lifelong friends was killed and another seriously injured. It seemed sheer chance that the prince himself was not killed or hurt. How did it happen? A day or two later the press reported that the prince’s group had chosen to ski out on slopes that were closed to the public. The avalanche warnings had been posted, but they had chosen to go beyond the fences because, as one of them observed, that’s where the optimum fun and excitement were to be found. Most likely, they found a brand of pleasure that was indeed more than attractive. But it went beyond the margins of what was wise and prudent. And the avalanche exacted its price among those who went beyond the fences. The result? Several broken worlds. Like the prince and his party who could not stay inside the fences, all of us become curious enough at times to edge out to the fences and see what’s on the other side. Perhaps we become curious to see how far we can sneak away from God and not suffer the consequences.
V 13. Opportunity = A starting point, a beachhead for the armies of indulgence to gain a foothold. A starting point or base of operation.
Too many people are clamoring for freedom to do what they shouldn’t do.
People who spend their lives trying to satisfy every fleshly appetite find out this phony freedom is even worse than bondage to rules.
Don’t allow your liberty to degenerate into license!”
1PE 2:16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
EPH 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

B. Turning our freedom into legalism. Verse 15. READ

The NIV correctly catches the flavor of the Greek conditional sentence here. Paul does not set up a future hazard to be avoided; he warns of a present condition (“keep on biting”) which must be halted. The Galatian churches were racked by civil war, not least of all over the very issue of law vs. grace. Personal attacks on each other were making the church look like ravenous jackals and bloodthirsty sharks.
Look at the context of the letter, people were trying to force things on other people, they were trying to steal people’s liberty.
GAL 2:4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.
Sometimes we build a box of what we think a Christian is. If people do not fit into our box, we will reject them. I have done this before. (CLOTHING and other things)
Biting and devouring one another draws up images of animals furiously fighting with each other.
It is characteristic of legalism to tear down rather than build up. When the crusade of the self-righteous reaches its ultimate end, the community of believers is decimated and finally annihilated
We have to remember that In 1 Corinthians 8:9, Paul says, But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
1CO 10:28-29 But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? (EXPLAIN)There are some things that because of my conscience is not right for me, but it may not be wrong for you. This is not to be confused with what God has said is wrong, but with the liberty we have in Christ. Don’t hold others in contempt because they do not agree with you.

A. Serving one another. Verse 13. READ

In his book Open the Door Wide to Happy Living, T. Huffman Harris told of a young man named Eddie who became tired of life and decided to leap from a bridge into a turbulent river. Jim, a total stranger, saw Eddie being swept downstream and plunged into the water in an effort to save him. Eddie, a good swimmer, noticed the man floundering desperately in the strong current and knew that without his help he would drown. Something stirred within him. With all of his strength, Eddie swam over to the man and rescued him. Saving that stranger, who had attempted to save him, brought new hope and meaning to Eddie’s life. Sometimes it does take a crisis to shock us out of a "poor-me attitude." When shocked sufficiently, we can begin to see once again our value to God and to others.
The irony of true freedom is that it is found in servitude. When Paul says, “serve one another” he uses a word normally employed in the context of slavery
The person who is set free from both slavery to law and slavery to self will find true freedom as the slave of Christ, an eager servant of the community of believers.
(liberty + love = service to others), (liberty ¡X love = license (slavery to sin))
Through love be in bondage to one another, be a slave to one another.
Do the acts of a bond-servant
This verse encapsulates the whole message of Galatians:
Just think what we would have if we were all willing to serve each other. Too many people look for a church with the idea of what the church can do for them, but maybe they should ask, what can I do for that church and the people who are a part of it.
This is one of the reasons for coming to church, so that we can serve each other. We grow closer as we worship together and then we learn how we can serve each other. How can I serve you if I do not know you?

B. Loving one another. Verse 14.

This verse focuses on man’s entire ethical and moral duty, but in the context of his relationships to “one another” (v. 13).
The key that makes being a bondservant to be real freedom lies in the qualifying phrase “in love.” Just as real faith expresses itself through love (5:6), the joy of a Christian’s freedom is discovered to rest upon love
Just as the old law brought bondage and death, the new “law of Christ” (6:2) introduces the believer into an exciting new community where people are free to love each other and serve each other’s needs.
It is unfortunate that most people would sum up the spirit and intention of God’s laws as “Thou shalt not.” This fosters a spirit of legalism, which sees life as a minefield, where we must always be careful not to step wrongly. What God would really rather see us do is rush from opportunity to opportunity, always eager to serve others. Law builds fences around what we must not do; love builds bridges to new places of service.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” solves every problem in human relations (see Rom. 13:8-14). If you love people (because you love Christ), you will not steal from them, lie about them, envy them, or try in any way to hurt them. Love in the heart is God’s substitute for laws and threats.
ROM 13:8-10 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.

So what? God has given us a great gift called freedom. We are free from the guilt, and the penalty of sin. We have to decide what we will do with that freedom, we will use it or will we abuse it. Will we use it to love, serve, and build up others, or will we use it as a license to sin or to destroy other people? Think about how you use your freedom in Christ.

The way each one of us uses our freedom in Christ will determine what kind of life, what kind of community, what kind of country, and what kind of world we will have.

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