What Do You Tell Yourself?
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. Galatians 4:8
Notice the past tense—this is what you were—a slave. Many Christians live much of their lives in fear, as though they were still slaves. Are you more aware of what God still needs to do in your life, or of what God has already done in your life?
You were a slave
A slave has no freedom. He does what he is commanded to do. The tragedy of the slave’s position is that his work never moves him to a better place. It cannot bring him freedom.
That used to be your position. You had not fulfilled, and could not fulfill the demands of the law. You owed God a debt you could not pay. That put you in the position of a slave. You could not change your position by your work—no matter how hard you tried. The good news of the Gospel is that God has acted to win your freedom. What has He done?
You are a son
“So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir…” Galatians 4:7
This is present tense: This is what you are—a son. This remarkable change has already happened in your life, if you’re a Christian. You were a slave; you are a son!
The Gospel sets you free! God has embraced you in Christ who died to redeem you. He has made you a new creation in Christ by the Spirit who lives within you (2 Corinthians 5;17). Grasping the Gospel means believing that these things are true of me in Christ.
Let me tell you something very strange. There are many people who believe that they are Christians, but they constantly tell themselves that they are slaves: “I have this sin that I can’t get over. It’s just me. It’s the way I was made.”
Now when you think like that or speak like that, you are saying that you are a slave. And when you say, “I am a slave,” you are denying the Gospel. You are not living by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you.
Where victory over sin begins…
There’s only one way to live the Christian life and that is by believing the Gospel, by believing that what God promises in Christ is true for you. When you do that you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32).
If you’re a Christian, don’t say, “I have this sin that I can’t get over.” Instead, say, “This is a sin I have fallen into many times, but those past failures are forgiven, and today I stand before God, not as sin’s slave, but as a child of God in whom his Spirit now lives. That means I can endure this trial. I can stand against this temptation. By the grace of God I’ll prevail.” That’s what it means to live life in the body by faith in the Son of God.
This LifeKey is based on the message (Dec 3, 2006) called: “The Gospel Sets You Free,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, from the series, “Grasping the Gospel.”
Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.
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