The greatest preacher and defender of sound doctrine apart from Christ
Himself was most likely the apostle Paul. None could charge him with
compromise, none could call his message unclear, and none could accuse
him of giving anyone a false hope. But as one who earnestly contended
for the faith of God’s elect, he stood firmly in defense of the liberty
of those in Christ and their total deliverance from all bondage. His
admonition to all true believers rings loud and clear today. “Stand fast
therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not
entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1) He knew that all
whom the Son had made free were free indeed, He knew that where the
Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. There had come to the Galatians
those who, though zealous, had by their preaching brought these people
under the spirit of bondage and fear. They no doubt preached Christ and
all the particulars concerning salvation by grace but there was a subtle
spirit of legalism and works woven into their message. It produced in
the hearers a feeling of fear and great heaviness of heart due to the
unbearable yoke that was always being laid upon them. Paul, knowing full
well that false professors and religionists always wrest the scriptures
to their own destruction, was not hindered in encouraging those in
Christ to untangle themselves from this yoke of legalistic bondage and
to rejoice in their liberty in Christ. The message he preached to them
was the same message of God’s grace and full salvation accomplished
solely by the merits and blood of Christ and that was good news. Those
who were trusting in Him went away rejoicing! The gospel is our
“emancipation proclamation” and the joy in our Lord Jesus Christ
strengthens, liberates and lifts us. “For God hath not given us the
spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” When
those who truly believe on and confess Christ hear His gospel they
breathe the fresh breath of freedom; but when they hear something else
they feel stifled under the tightness of the yoke. “Ye did run well; who
did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” The truth is that
those in Christ are “Free from the law, O happy condition! Jesus hath
bled, and there is remission.” Stand fast!
Pastor Gary Shepard

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