It was a time of celebration. Independence Day meant a short trip to visit family. Meanwhile, I thought I’d pass the travel time with a bit of “light” reading in the book of Galatians.
Galatians 1:3, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age . . .“
The present time didn’t seem evil. After all, we were headed to see loved ones, filled with the expectations of great food and fun activities. Freedom was the word for the day. I listened to the squeals of joy from my daughters playing tag and hot potato. I later watched their faces alight with wonder as their sparklers painted the night air.
. . . Galatians 3:22, “But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner to sin . . .”
Yes, I admit that my choice of reading wasn’t exactly fitting in to the Independence Day spirit. At least not yet. As I reflected on these passages of Scripture, there intruded a memory of my daughter which stood in sharp contrast to the image of her sparkler-lit expression. The memory begins with the sound of crying. I heard it in passing by my daughter’s room. When I stepped in to ask her what was wrong, the floodgates opened. What she said next, I could not distinguish. No interpreter would be of any help. The only information I could decipher through the sobs was something about school . . . school lunch? Did she feel sick? Did someone bully her? Finally I could distinguish that she had done something wrong.
My daughter was only six at the time. How bad could it be? After much comforting and coaxing, she finally confessed to something she had said at the lunch table. She was trying to be funny. At the same time, she had a “funny” feeling that what she said was wrong. The wrong-doing would fit into the category of coarse joking. Though she didn’t understand the full meaning behind it, what her head didn’t entirely comprehend, her heart did and it had apparently been haunting her. It hadn’t just happened that day, not even that week. For weeks this wrong-doing had been stealing her peace. “Have you ever done something that bad?” she asked through tears. “Oh, honey, Mommy has done much, muchworse.”
Unfortunately, this present age is one of sin. We have been born into it since the moment Eve misunderstood freedom. In a sense, Eve wanted the freedom to choose her own path. What she misunderstood is that she was already granted that freedom, and what she chose was a prison.
. . . Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction . . .”
We’ve all done it in some form or another – acting on what we know isn’t right. Whether it be chasing after the wild life with the expectations of fun and excitement, or simply caving in to the temptation of that third or fourth treat to top off the “Independence” Day festivities. Harvest time does not often happen instantaneously upon sowing. I wonder what the forbidden fruit tasted like to Eve. Had it tasted horribly, I doubt that she would have passed it on to Adam. It must have seemed harmless at first. The end result, however, was their retreat from freedom and into hiding. Like Adam and Eve, at some point we all experience hiding out of shame. Our idea of freedom is often misguided.
. . . Galatians 3:19,23-24: “What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come . . . Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
There is a time for conviction of sin, there is a time for confession of sin, and thank God that there is a time for freedom from sin. How would Christ have reacted to my daughter in her distress? Actually, Christ didn’t react, He pre-acted, for He was foreordained as a ransom and slain before the foundations of the world (1 Peter 1:20, Revelations 13:8). It was not Adam and Eve that approached God for forgiveness, it was God who sought them out and covered their shame. God continues to seek us out, though He now offers something much greater. He offers Himself, not only covering our shame, but removing it.
. . . Galatians 4:4-7, “But when the time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son . . .”
Political freedom is a blessing. I’m thankful for the nation in which I live. Nonetheless, my greatest Independence Day is ultimately the day the Spirit of God set me free. 2 Corinthians 3:17 states that “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” Unlike Adam and Eve who hid from the very Spirit who brings liberty . . .
There’s no need to hide when He is within.
He’ll break from you every shackle of sin.
He’ll rescue you from the spirit of shame,
Crown you with glory and call you by name.
No longer a slave, He’s made you a son.
So let freedom reign; the battle’s been won!
– Lesley Rieland