You have been freed from…and you have been freed for. The Christian leader must understand the biblical nature of freedom. If we don’t, we may end up leading people into spiritual slavery.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
Paul summarizes the nature of freedom in this one short, power-packed verse. Paul helps us first understand what Christ has freed us from. By faith freely given in the waters of baptism, you have been set free from the evil trifecta—sin, death and the devil. In your former life, before faith, you were enslaved to the evil trifecta. No longer is this the case! You have been set free by the blood of the spotless Lamb of God! Even though we wrestle with the ashes of our former selves, we’ve in fact been crucified with Christ. Our enslaved self died with Him. We have been raised in a new, free life by faith in the crucified and risen Christ!
This is the Gospel! It is the greatest news of all time! Jesus has set you free from sin, death and the devil.
Unfortunately, this is where many pastors and theologians stop. Paul, however, did not stop there. For Paul, no “work of the law” should stand between us and the freedom Jesus secured through the cross! Namely, Paul warned that any leader who mandated the law of circumcision might as well be bound to keeping all of the Law (Galatians 5:3-4). Go ahead, try to justify and free yourself according to the Law. I warn you. If you try, you may fall away from grace. Give up? Good. You never will, nor can you, fulfill the Law by works. That is Jesus’ job. And it has been fulfilled. Feeling free yet?
Now that we have that clear, let me share your purpose. You have been set free from the wages of sin by the Gospel for the purpose of loving your neighbor. You are set free for the purpose of inviting your neighbor to hear and believe the Gospel. We should do whatever it takes, short of sin, to set people free from the Law through the power of the Gospel!
Leader, let me speak directly to you. You are set free for the purpose of recognizing the gifts within the wider body of Christ and doing all you can, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to set those leaders free to use their spiritual gifts within and outside of the church. That is your call. Equip the saints for love and good deeds (Ephesians 4:11).
One of our missions at the ULC is to help Christian leaders live in the freedom of the Gospel! The last thing church leaders should want is to one day hear Jesus, in love, say, “Wow. I gave you so much. I blessed you with many shepherds and evangelists to develop and deploy. Yet you resisted the invitation because your church bodies’ structures didn’t facilitate nor validate your type of training. Why did you let this stop you?”
Okay, maybe I tripped you up when I suggested Jesus might be disappointed in us on the Last Day. That wasn’t my intention. All of our sins will be fully covered by the blood of the Lamb. Instead, could this be the question Jesus is asking leaders right now? Hear Him calling, “Repent of withholding workers who could be sent out into the ripe harvest field. I’ve given you so many women and men with amazing experiences in their various vocations. Spend deep time with them in My Word. Ask them for help to carry out My mission. Dream and release them to do far more than you can do on your own. Leader, you have been set free for this purpose!” We must not let law stand between us and the freedom to proclaim the Gospel.
I am grateful the ULC is being watched by many people throughout our church body. I think
most are watching with curiosity. While some observe with condemnation. We are eager to work with the curious. We know condemnation will come as well. We are not using alternative models that the local church is free to explore to draw ire or condemnation. Nonetheless, when we face criticism—which is inevitable—we will bless and not curse. We are exploring new ways to freely release the priesthood of all believers to please God. We are not focused on protecting the remains of a rapidly declining denomination. We cannot place institutional preservation above innovation for the sake of the lost.
Under the banner of the Gospel, we have been set free for this purpose. Why? Many pre-Christians are still waiting to be told what they have been set free from. Freedom!
Join the freedom movement. uniteleadership.org