Free To Serve
What do we mean by freedom? It depends on the context. The man who has been released from prison is free of being controlled, but has a new responsibility to control himself. A child who runs away from home is free of the constraints of the family, but is very vulnerable and at risk of being caught up in things that would enslave him or her. Paul said that the freedom we have in Christ is not freedom to do what we like but freedom to serve the Lord and others.
Christ sets us free from the demands of the law to earn our salvation, and from the curse of the law (because He was cursed for us): but at the same time we are given an outward-facing purpose so that we do not indulge ourselves. The method God uses to discipline us is to give us people to serve, in the family, the church and the world. Believers, who understand that they are saved by grace alone, will want to be gracious to others and serve them sacrificially for Christ’s sake.
There is no value in self-centred service which merely patronises the other person; for that is motivated by pride. The service which demonstrates the grace of our salvation is always humble and never self-seeking. It is a love like that of Jesus who laid down His life for us. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” So Christ has set us free from the futile obligation to earn our salvation, so that we can please Him – and He is pleased as we spend our lives serving others, however much it may cost us.
© Dr Paul Adams