Our pastoral team at Agape Humphreys has been preaching thru the book of Galatians, and I enjoyed delivering a message from Galatians 4:6-20. I opened the message by discussing Harriet Tubman and her tireless efforts to realize freedom for herself and thousands of enslaved Americans. Bethany and I recently watched the movie Harriet, and wow–it blew us away. I knew fragments of Tubman’s story, but the film accurately and brilliantly brings her story to life. She was absolutely dedicated to achieving freedom and consistently risked her life to gain it. I saw parallels between Harriet’s life and the apostle Paul’s.
Studying the book of Galatians, I realized God used Paul to frame the question: Do you want to be free? Effectively, that’s what Paul asks in Galatians 6:9. “Do you want to be enslaved to them (false gods) all over again?”
The Galatians had received Paul’s message, and achieved freedom from idolatry by embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Before becoming Christians, the Galatians worshiped greek gods. The Gospel liberated them from their spiritual enslavement to sin and idolatry. But false teachers deceived them into thinking they needed to keep the Jewish law to earn God’s favor. This deception led to their return to spiritual captivity. Paul devotes his letter to helping the Galatians grasp their desperate situation and the choice before them. He lays out how they can regain their freedom.
We face this same choice. What if God is using the Corona virus to open our eyes to what we’re enslaved to, and He’s providing an opportunity to choose freedom? Americans worship alcohol, drugs, lust, careers, material possessions, the perceptions of others through social media, endless activities (busyness), and legalism (the self-deception that we can earn God’s salvation by doing x, y, z good things or keeping man-made rules). People are often captive to fear and afraid of what will come. What if this pandemic is awakening us to our worship of false gods?
If you’re a workaholic, you suddenly may find yourself with more family time. If you’re a sports addict, how’s that working out for you? Flipping thru channels on Armed Forces Network (AFN), I saw curling on one of the sports channels. Is that what it’s come to? Yikes.
The Gospel reveals the truth. God’s favor was earned at the cross of Jesus Christ. His substitutionary death is what justifies us before a holy and righteous God. Freedom is being made righteous before God and accepted by Him as sons and daughters, and is available to all who put their faith in Christ for salvation and surrender to Jesus as Lord of their lives. Christians can move forward securely without fear, because we know Who holds the future. By faith, we walk believing He’s working all things for our good (Romans 8:28).
Harriet Tubman once said, “I have heard their groans and sighs, and seen their tears, and I would give every drop of blood in my veins to free them.”
God heard our groans and sighs due to our slavery to sin. He sent His one and only Son Jesus to rescue us from captivity. And He gave every drop of blood in his veins to free us.
So choose freedom.