Galatians 5:1 states: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Paul is dealing with a problem the church was having during the first century, but he speaks of liberty and bondage. This subject is one that ought to be of utmost importance to us today also.
During the first century there were those who were trying to bind the Old Testament upon those striving to become Christians. The battle (Luke by inspiration uses the terms, “dissension” and “disputation” in Acts 15:2) became so pronounced that there was a call to go before the Apostle’s and elders to settle the matter (Acts 15:3). The counsel made no new doctrine and they also did not settle the matter. The matter was already settled in heaven but man sometimes has problems accepting what God has declared about matters. Man was/is free from the Old Testament (other passage to prove this point are Ephesians 2:15 context of that passage is an interesting study. Colossians 2:14 proves the same thing.) The apostle’s had been teaching this for a long time, but people have a hard time giving up on certain things. Notice the letter or epistle that was sent out from the apostle’s, elders and brethren and said this, “…to whom we gave no such commandment” (Acts 15:24). All people are free from the Old Testament with all of its sacrifices and rituals. Thus all people are set at liberty.
Yet, with liberty comes sacrifice. In our country there have been groups of people that have sacrificed so that we can enjoy the freedoms or liberties that we enjoy. People have sacrificed their jobs, fortunes, life, limbs, and their own liberty so that all can enjoy the freedom we enjoy. Sacrifices are still necessary. They were necessary in the past and will be necessary as long as liberty is to be enjoyed by the people of the United States of America. Just because one group sacrificed does not mean that sacrifice cease.
Christ came into the world for a sacrifice to free us from the Old Testament. His sacrifice has much more meaning than that. His sacrifice can set us free from the bondage of sin (Romans 6). He sacrificed His blood for us to enjoy this freedom, what do we think about this sacrifice? Do you take this sacrificing of One’s life to be nothing? Do you take this sacrifice for granted?
God does not force us to accept this sacrifice for our freedom from sin. God has provided us with a means to appropriate this sacrifice from the Old and from sin, what do we do with it? Will we use it or let it go by unnoticed? God has done all of this work of redeeming man out of His love for us (John 3:16). Yet how do we treat this sacrifice? How do people today treat the sacrifice of men who have gone before to give us this freedom in the U.S.? How sad do you think God is when some trample over the giving up of His Son? How do you think God feels when people do not appreciate what His Son did for all of mankind?
On the day that God has set aside for us to notice and remember what He and His Son has done, many pay no attention. Some people have no regard for what God has done. Some may treat this sacrifice as an unholy thing. There will come a day when those people will have to give an account for their actions. Our duty is to warn them of treating this sacrifice with disrespect. We are to show and warn others of this beautiful deed that Jesus did. It will cost us something, yes we too must sacrifice; be it time, money or our talents, but we must do it.The apostles also made sacrifices so that this liberty can continue. Jesus warned them that they would be cast into prison, persecuted, delivered up to the synagogues and be brought before king’s and ruler’s for Jesus’ sake (Luke 21:12). When one studies the book of Acts these things are found to be true. Just think what these men went through so that we could have the Gospel. They were beaten, jailed, killed and had the property taken from them, just because they were living the kind of life that God wanted them to live. They hazardous their lives to live and write the things that Christ said, being guided by the Holy Ghost to do so. Paul said that he had “suffered the lost of all things” for the sake of the Gospel (Philippians 3:8). Consider what we have given up for the cause of Christ. We have the freedom to come, yet many don’t. We can drive in automobile that are now air condition, yet many don’t. Oh, the price of gas is out of sight therefore we can not come. Yes that may be so but what is a sacrifice? What did it cost Jesus for us to have this freedom? We have padded pews, yet many can’t sit for an hour to worship God. We have air conditioned buildings yet many would rather do something else during this time. Why are our building not filled? Is the sacrifice of Christ of none effect? Maybe we are not committed to that sacrifice as we need to be.
Through out the ages people have sacrificed for this liberty. There have been people who would sacrifice all for just a small piece of Scriptures. There was a time when it was illegal to own the Scriptures, yet many did; yet how many have more than enough Bible in their possession and the Bible is unread in their lives? Do we really appreciate the spiritual sacrifices that others have made for us? Yes, think of the mothers who have labored hard and sacrificed much to make sure their families were ready for the services for Sunday. Think of the fathers who have sacrificed to make sure their children know God and His plan of salvation. Think of the preachers of yesteryear who sacrificed much to preach the Gospel. Yet what do we do about the liberty we have? Now what do we sacrifice so that we can enjoy the liberty that Christ came to give us? Brethren we need to think soberly about these things.