6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
Do you feel free to serve or is there something holding you back? To be released means to be discharged, at liberty and unconstrained, truly free to serve God with everything we have. Paul says that we can try to live by rules or we can live by a relationship. But Serving God will never come from rules, only an intimate relationship. You will never be truly free to serve God if you are not in a relationship with Him. There comes a moment where we have to proclaim our death to the law, Galatians 2:19: “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.” Because we will never live for the Lord until we first declare our death to the demands of the law. The law itself is not bad. Galatians 3:24 tells us that the law is a tutor to lead us to the Lord. The law is good but it can’t make you good, it cannot save or sanctify us, it condemns but it doesn’t commend. So the law does not die but rather it is we who need to die to the law, we need to live as people who have been liberated from the law.
Our relationship with rules and expectations has to end so we can be released into a relationship with Christ. We are the church and in the New Testament, the church is described by three words that all start with the letter “B.” The church is called the body, with Christ as the head; a building with Christ being the chief cornerstone, and believers as living bricks; and we’re called the bride of Christ. All of these analogies point to a relationship but the last one makes it especially clear than it’s all about a relationship. In that sense, we’re “married to Jesus,” marriage is supposed to be about a personal relationship with another. The truth is, we are going to be in a marriage, it’s either going to be with rules or the ruler. It would do us well to ponder our betrothal as the bride of Christ; do you have a love relationship or a law relationship? We will always be tempted to go back to the law, and we will not only have to fight against a law relationship but we also have to fight against the performance mentality. We need to remember where that got us and determine to not live under legalistic rules and regulations. When we are in a relationship with Christ based on love we will not only find the freedom to serve God but also the power to serve through the Holy Spirit. We have been set free in order to serve, which leads to a couple of questions. Are you serving the Savior or are you just sitting back? Have you discovered the new way of the Spirit or are you still doing things the old way? Do you find serving exciting or is it excruciating because you’re trying to impress God and others? This October I have received several cards for “pastor appreciation month” thanking me for serving and the truth is that serving is really my privilege; it should be an exciting part of our Christian walk not an excruciating exercise in torture. Incidentally, why do pastors get a month of appreciation and Jesus gets only a day? Maybe it’s time for us to show Him our appreciation everyday as we serve Him with a smile.