God loves us and wants us to experience true freedom that is found in Jesus (John 8:32). He is all-sufficient and the one who has set us free from slavery to sin (Colossians 2:11–15).
1. Jesus transformed our heart (v.11). Physical circumcision is merely a manifestation of what really transpired in the heart as we commit our lives to Jesus. Salvation is a spiritual circumcision of the heart where our heart is supernaturally transformed with a new desire to do what God wants us to do by His grace and power (Deuteronomy 30:6). Because God has transformed our inner lives, we are free to do His will, with delight, and out of our love for Him.
2. Jesus gave us new life in the picture of baptism (v.12). Baptism is the outward response of an inner commitment to surrender our life to God. We are immersed in water to express that we died to our old self and we are raised from the water pointing to the new life that we have. Baptism is a picture of complete identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
3. Jesus has forgiven all our sins (v.13–14). When we were dead in our sins, He made us alive with Him having forgiven us from our sins. The word forgiveness originates from the word grace. By His grace, Jesus canceled our certificate of debt. He wiped it clean and paid it in full, “tetelestai”. Not because we are good and deserving, but because He, the Son of God, loves us.
4. Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities (v.15). When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, He was victorious over Satan and his demons. We have already been set free in Jesus, therefore, we do not have to be afraid of death. We do not have to be enslaved by fear because our life and destiny is already in the hands of God. Sadly, many Christians still draw near to Satan’s presence. But since we are already free and protected, we should never go into the enemy’s territory. It will only hurt us.
Whatever controls us enslaves us. In the time of the Apostle Paul, these practices enslaved people:
Legalism – keeping certain standards for oneself and judging others who do not keep those standards;
Asceticism – imposing man-made rules; severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence to gain favor with God (i.e. celibacy, monasticism, vegetable diet, vow of poverty);
Mysticism – worship of angels, visions, going through angelic mediators, false humility;
Syncretism – combining different religions or philosophies to reach God;
Gnosticism – need for deeper truth for spirituality, salvation is achieved through special knowledge; resulting in licentiousness.
Today, modern practices that enslave people will include bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, materialism, approval of men, or addictions on drugs, sex, alcohol, etc.
True freedom happens not only in doing what we love to do but when what we love to do is what God wants us to do. We are most free and happy with no rules and restrictions when we are following God’s design for our lives.
Don’t be impressed or be deceived by wrong teaching that takes away our focus on Jesus. Instead, in whatever we do, whenever we do it, let us do it unto the Lord (Romans 14:5–6, 10). It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1). Don’t make Christianity a list of do’s and don’ts. Do things with delight, not out of duty. We are called to freedom, only let us not turn it into an opportunity for the flesh but through love let us serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
1. What do you feel is missing in your life?
a. Is there a promise in the Bible that God will give you that thing, for example, peace (John 14:27) or wisdom (James 1:5)? If so, what must you do while waiting for Him to fulfill the promise in His perfect timing?
b. If there is no promise, read Col 2:9-10, Psalm 90:14, and Psalm 16:11. What can you do to refocus your life to find full satisfaction and joy in Christ?
c. If you feel incomplete without a spouse, read 1 Cor 7:32-38. Remember that Jesus did not marry.
2. Read John 8:34-36. Which sins do you struggle with? Read Rom 6:11-13 and Gal 5:13, 16. How can you apply these passages in your situation?
3. Are there any unbiblical philosophies or practices that you continue to believe or do (for example, praying to anyone other than God)? Which ones? Read 2 Cor 10:5.