“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
The maintenance personnel (“Jim”) at Centennial Park is kind of like Christ. Jim went out of his way to let out the baby raccoon out of the garbage bin. The reason he did so was because he knew that the poor little rodent couldn’t do it himself. The raccoon may have strong climbing legs, but they couldn’t help him. Jim didn’t rescue the raccoon because he was good and deserved it, he did it because it was a choice. Likewise, Jesus Christ came to earth to save us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” Ephesians 2:8-9. It’s straightforward; we need Christ because that is how we gain our freedom. We can’t navigate ourselves through this world of sin, turmoil, and uncertainties. So, we trust the one who can give us this freedom.
Freedom means we get to live, thrive, be our best selves, and not worry about uncontrollable, or uncertain things. There are times in my life when I never understood the meaning of that freedom. We have all been teenagers and some of us have had to listen to domineering parents. Can you imagine what that feels like? Yes, it’s restrictive. If Christ is anything like earthly parents, he sets up rules and makes us have to obey them. How is that free? These are the very rules that makes one want to get the heck out of the garden, house or country! We have an inclination for just wanting to do what we want to do. Surely, this is the better definition of freedom.
See Part One: Recused from bondage.
The baby raccoon would agree that it had the right to go looking for food anywhere. But, even though no one will restrict this rodent, could there be a better way to hunt for food, without the possibility of being stuck? Or was it okay to take the risk, and hope for the best? Surely, that was the raccoon’s right! None of us want to feel stuck. It makes us feel scared and anxious. So, while we want to have the right to do what we feel is best for ourselves, there are many risks out there that we can’t get away from. We get trapped because of our own actions. It was for these reasons, Christ died for us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. In other words, Christ knew we were going to get stuck over and over again and because of that, he gave himself for our freedom. Imagine that!
Jesus Christ knew we had free choice, as the Lord God gave it to us. Jesus even knows we do not want anyone to hinder our choices. And so he gave himself as a sacrifice, bearing every sin that we could ever experience, and became that mediator for us. That way, we won’t have to stay in the garbage bin forever. Instead, like the raccoon, each time we fall in the garbage bin, Jim comes in and make a way for our escape. If there is no Jim, we are stuck forever. Our lives come to an end, and we die in our own mistakes. And who wants to die because you’re trying to survive? Freedom therefore goes with a sacrifice. Christ had to sacrifice his life, so that we can be free. Now, he gives us a charge, To Stand firm.
Christ expects us to learn from our mistakes. Not for his good, but for our own good. Not because he won’t rescue us. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. It’s a burden on us when we make mistakes, and can’t get out. It breaks our spirits, it makes us feel ashamed, it beats us down emotionally, and we become stressed, anxiety ridden, and depressed. One mistake, or the feeling of being stuck, can cause us to have a lifetime of poor choices, even feeling afraid to take other risks. So, in fact it’s for our gain that we STAND firm in our new knowledge, that is, actually the reason Christ died for us. We are just like baby raccoons who are in need of rescuing because we will always get stuck, at some point or other in our lives. While we might not see Jim, know that it was he who held the bin down, and shook us out, whether or not we took the time to acknowledge him. Likewise, whether we knew that it was Christ who freed us from sin, because of him, we are free.