Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
Sometimes just standing is hard work. I remember seeing videos of soldiers standing at attention for long periods of time, then dropping to the ground in a faint. But “to stand” has another use. It means to hold your ground against an enemy.
It is remarkably easy to fall back into the bondage of legalism or performance spirituality. Not only does the world and much of the church tell you that you are wrong to stand in freedom, but the nagging little thoughts from the devil and your own flesh continually seem to try to influence you toward the bondage of rules and guilt. “Shouldn’t you be doing this?” “You really ought to be better at that.”
We are constantly told what “real Christians” ought to be doing or avoiding. The rules, no matter how arbitrary, are usually couched in language that is meant to convict us. The judgment and condemnation are familiar and sound so right. But we know the truth.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32
Standing in our freedom is right and good, but it isn’t easy. Nor is it passive. Not only is it a challenge not to fall back into bondage ourselves, but it is a challenge not to be condemning of others. Sometimes it is more difficult to let others walk in freedom than to walk in it myself. Then, when I realize what I have done, I wonder if my own freedom isn’t just an excuse to be out from under the right standards of the Christian life and I listen more willingly to the accusations against grace.
But no! Jesus has made me free! I am free to follow Him, to love Him, to let Him work in my life in whatever way He wills. I am free of the guilt and shame that comes attached to the standards others bring. I am free to be who He wants me to be. If, in that freedom, I err or I allow myself to sin, I am no less free. The misuse of freedom does not negate the freedom.
So we “stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.” We stand against the legalist teaching. We stand against those who tell us that the grace message is a teaching of license or passivity. We stand as warriors in battle, holding our ground—because it is the truth!
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36