For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Peter Marshall was a Scottish-American preacher, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and in 1946 he was appointed as US Senate Chaplain, serving from January 4, 1947, until his sudden death of a heart attack just over two years later, at age 46. One morning he prayed the following as the opening prayer before the legislative session:
“Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.”
In Galatians 5 the Apostle Paul tells the church at Galatia essentially the same thing. Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and our faith in Him we are now free of the obligations of the law. The gospel is not about my performance, it is about Christ’s sacrifice and the grace He shows us in the gospel. This freedom, however, is not a license to do whatever we want. With our freedom in Jesus comes a great responsibility to serve others in His name. Why would you not want to serve the one who died for you?! It’s about worship and gratitude not obligation. This week as we celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in this country, may we do as the song says and not “forget the men who died who gave that right to me”. Also, may we never forget the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on Calvary’s cross for us. Make the most of your freedom. Live a life that is worthy of the sacrifice Jesus paid for you. May his grace toward us not be in vain.