My thoughts (Steve Adams):
The upshot of these verses is fantastic! Paul illustrates that Christ has set the Galatians forever free from the chains of slavery to Old Testament law. These were a group of Christians who were committed to laws such as circumcision, laws that prevented them from walking in the freedom that Christ had come to provide. They were stuck, and Paul was determined to persuade them that there was a better way. They were free, but they didn’t realize it!
The Galatians desperately needed to hear this message back then, and we still need to hear it today. Many today have been indoctrinated in law and rules, never having been shown the scope and depth of freedom in Christ. However, there are also many like me, who were raised from Christian infancy to know that we are not under the law, but are instead under the freedom and grace of Jesus Christ.
So, whichever background is yours (or perhaps it’s a combination of both), we now have “blessed assurance” that we’re free. The challenge then becomes: How do I live out this freedom? How do I use it well? This gift is like a blank screen, or a blank piece of film. What movie am I going to put on it? What story am I going to tell? It’s kind of like leaving home for the first time to go to college. Freedom feels like a refreshing, exciting breeze that says “Anything’s possible!” as I move into my dorm. But what am I going to do now that I can do “anything”?
A mature, loving freedom realizes that discipline, discernment, accountability, and sacrifice remain indispensable values and life skills. It realizes that increased freedom means increased responsibility. It also realizes that there’s an increased need to be smart! A choice determined by a rule doesn’t require nearly as many smarts as a choice made in the vast ocean of freedom!
The spiritual quest becomes even more important. Ethics and morals become high priorities. We become more interested in choosing the loving and noble option than rationalizing a spiritually mediocre one. Our lives become a quest to internalize what is spiritually excellent (Philippians 1:10).
Thought for the Day: Thank you, God, that — when I’m alone and it’s just you and me — I can have peace, because I know I’ve done my best to use my freedom in Christ well.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.