The Courageous Church: Redeemed and Free
“God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law…” vs. 5
The Drowning Boy
(I couldn’t verify this or find it to be untrue either, I hope it is true and accurate)
In the early 1950’s a wealthy English family invited some friends to spend some time at their beautiful estate. It was to be a day of enjoyment of friends, fun, and food. The gathering almost ended in tragedy. The children went swimming. One of them got into deep water and was drowning. Fortunately, the gardener heard the others screaming and plunged into the pool to rescue the helpless victim. His parents, deeply grateful to the gardener, asked what they could do to reward him. He hesitated, then said, “I wish my son could go to college someday and become a doctor.” Without hesitation the parents replied, “We’ll pay his way.”
The rich boy’s parents made good on their promise and paid for the gardeners son’s college education. Their rich parent’s son also went on to college and both became prominent men in their fields. The gardener’s son became a well know doctor who was instrumental in the development of penicillin.
Years later, when Sir Winston Churchill, was prime minister of England, he was stricken with pneumonia. Greatly concerned, the king summoned the best physician who could be found to the bedside of the ailing leader. Of course that was the gardener’s son, Sir Alexander Fleming. As fate would have it, that little boy who almost drowned was young Winston Churchill. Later Churchill was quoted as saying, “Rarely has one man owed his life twice to the same person.”
There is a prevailing feel that most of us have that when someone does something for us, like Churchill’s parents in the story, we need to do something to either pay them back or show our appreciation. It’s pretty rare that someone does something and doesn’t want anything in return or just does it out of the goodness of their heart. That takes us to the work of Jesus Christ. He did something for us with no desire for payback, no obligations, just provided us with a wonderful gift for free. If you are able, please stand as we read God’s Word from Galatians 3:26-4:7:
Read Passage – Galatians 3:26-4:7
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
God’s Greatest Work?
If you think for just a minute you could probably name some incredibly great things God’s has done; things, like say, creation. Maybe something like parting the Red Sea. Or the virgin birth. The list is pretty incredible. I think you could make a strong argument that redemption was or is God’s greatest work. As great as all creation is, it really can’t compare with the work of redemption. Christ’s work of redemption was set in motion even before creation was brought into being. Redemption or buying back speaks of what Christ has done for us. Christ has paid the price to purchase us back out of our slavery to sin, self, and Satan. The price of our redemption communicates to us the colossal value God places on us.
To redeem means “to set free by paying a ransom price, to release or ransom by payment.”
The word redeemed is, to us, a theological term; but it carried a special meaning to the 45 million people in the first-century Roman Empire; mainly because nearly ¼ of them were slaves. Yea, there were probably close to10 million slaves in the Roman Empire! Many of those slaves became Christians and were involved with the local temples and took part in their worship services.
In a sense, you have to change your mind set because our idea of a slave is really based on the evil institution that prevailed in our country back in the 17th and 18th centuries. Although their slavery was bad, it wasn’t like ours. In fact, many of the slaves of their day were in that lifestyle by choice. They owed a lot of money or had no other way to provide for their family and choose to enter into slavery as a means of providing for their families or to get out of debt. It’s hard for us to imagine someone choosing to be a slave but that did happen.
Also, in those days, a slave could purchase their freedom. If they could collect sufficient funds or if their master liked them and choose to help them, they could pay the price and set him free. Redemption was a rare and precious thing for a slave because it was something someone did for you.
Redeem Means You Are Free…
For us to be a healthy church, for us to help each other and build solid relationships with God and each other, it is important for us to grasp the freedom that comes from being redeemed or set free because of the work of Christ. Redeem means you are free…
- Because of the Work of Christ
Redeem means you are free because of the work of Christ. We believe that that Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, lived on this earth for 33 years, preformed miracles and gave us signs and the Word of God, and died on the cross and rose again to conquer death. This passage affirms that in verse 5 where it says:
“God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law…” vs. 5
Notice the later part of that verse, “to redeem,” to buy back and set free. This is the gospel in a nutshell. Sin is the reality that we have done things that displease God. Many people want to believe that at the core we are good. That is an appealing thought but our goodness pales in comparison to God’s goodness; and the reality is that sin is the thing that separates us from God.
Most of us are familiar with Romans 3:23 that says, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” It’s unfortunate that people tend to stop there because verse 24 is a great addition to that when it says:
“All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Rom. 2:24
Verse 23 convicts but verse 24 frees, and better news, it’s for all people. It verifies the redemption that comes only through Christ Jesus. It’s important that we are careful not to try and earn it by our goodness but to accept the free gift.
Ex. The prodigal son in Luke 15. Two sons. One rebels early but returns humbled and repentant. The other does all the right things, he is the “good boy.” But in the end, who is not with the Father? The older. He was dependent on his goodness while the prodigal son was dependent on the father’s goodness. Christ paid the price. We don’t have to pay it again. We accept the free gift based on the work of Jesus.
- From Anything that Separates Us from God
Secondly, redeem means you are free from anything that separates us from God; more specifically, from the love of God. Notice in verse 7 the endearing way in which we are looked at from the eyes of God.
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” vs. 7
See this is more than just being set free, it is set free with love and elevated to the status of “child” and “heir.” The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes away any barrier that would stop us from experiencing God’s love. A great lie that somehow gets communicated to us it that we cannot truly experience the full love of God because he is so wrathful and angry. But redeemed people accept that all barriers are broken down through Christ and that we can experience the greatest love you’ve ever had or felt. Paul iterates this in Romans 8:38-39 when he writes:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:38-39
Every possible barrier is broken and has no hold on you or me.
Ex. I have heard a lot of people say things like. “It’s too late for me,” or “I’ve done too many bad things for God to love me,” or “God could never accept or love someone like me.” Those people still haven’t accept the gift of redemption.
- The Problem of Guilt
There is one big obstacle that stops us from truly experiencing the redemption or freedom that Christ brings to us: Guilt. It is important to note that there are different aspects to guilt.
- There is a good aspect of guilt that stops us from doing the wrong thing at times in our life. It also convicts of the things we do that are wrong and gives us the opportunity to change our life for the better.
Ex. You hurt someone’s feelings, feel guilty and then correct your behavior and apologize and restore the relationship
- But there is the bad aspect of guilt. The bad guilt is one that keeps us oppressed, hurt, depressed, shamed, and beaten down.
It’s that second kind of guilt that stops us from understanding our redemption and freedom that comes from Christ.
Ex. A preacher of the early 1900s said that when he was 12 years old he had killed one of the family geese by throwing a stone and hitting it squarely on the head. Figuring his parents wouldn’t notice that one of the 24 birds was missing, he buried the dead fowl. But that evening his sister called him aside and said, “I saw what you did. If you don’t offer to do the dishes tonight, I’ll tell Mother.” The next morning she gave him the same warning. All that day and the next the frightened boy felt bound to do the dishes. The following morning, however, he surprised his sister by telling her it was her turn. When she quietly reminded him of what she could do, he replied, “I’ve already told Mother, and she has forgiven me. Now you do the dishes. I’m free again!”
- To Belong to One Another
Third, redeem means you are free to belong to one another. This is great news because it means we part of something that is much bigger than we are and it frees us to care for and love each other. Because you are free, so is the person next to you and next to them, and so on, and so on. Notice the amazing words of verse 2:
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” vs. 2
As the barriers have been torn down between you and God, so have the barriers been torn down that people use to separate ourselves. We have this in common: we have both been forgiven. An important part of the redemptive process is reconciliation not only to God but to each other. Aul states it this way in Romans 7:4:
“So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead “ Rom. 7:4
Notice the phrase in the middle that says; we belong to one another. Belonging to one another means we care for one another, we help one another, we lift each other up when one is down, we celebrate with one another, we cry with one another, we laugh with one another, we learn from one another, well, you get the idea.
It means first and foremost you are a Christian and part of a larger community.
Slave vs. Free
Finally, it’s important to see how this changes the way we live. We don’t have to live with guilt, with oppression, with negativity. We have been freed. It’s the realization that Jesus did all that for you and me and because he did that for you, you want to know him more and be in a deeper relationship with him. The passage talks about slaves and the opposite of that would be free people. Think about how differ the life of a slave is compared to the life of a free person.
Slaves – oppressed, owe their master, no decisions, like where to go, what to do, what to eat, where to eat, what to wear, etc.
Free – released, free from control, power to determine and decide, (even wrong), no obligation or debt
Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. – John Diefenbaker
The bottom line is comes down to Jesus and what he did for us. He redeemed us and set us free.