Moving Mountains
 
"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).

We are free!  We have been delivered from the curse that the Law pronounces on the singer who has been unsuccessfully striving to achieve his own righteousness.  We now embrace Christ, His righteousness imputed to us, and the salvation gained through Him by grace  and are justified and righteous by His merit alone (Romans 5:15-21; see also Philippians 3:9).  St. Paul exhorts us to stand firm in this grace because of the undeserved blessing of being free from the Law and the flesh.  A better translation for "subject again" is "to be burdened/oppressed by," because of its connection to a yoke.  A yoke refers to the wooden crosspiece that is used to control domesticated animals, fastening it over the neck of two animals and attached to a plow or cart that they are to pull.  Here's what it looks like:
The Jews thought of "the yoke of the Law" as a blessed thing — the essence of true religion and salvation.  Paul, however, argued that for those who pursued it as a way of salvation, the Law was a yoke of slavery because all the Law does is reveal our sin and thus condemn us, hence the imagery here; the Law cannot save us, but the Gospel does.

The use of the Law is to make our sins known, and immediately following must come the Gospel, which is the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Christ.  When Christ died on the cross, our sins died with Him.  When He rose from the dead, our sins were left in the dark, empty tomb.  This is why Jesus said,
"Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).  Look at the image above again.  What those two oxen are carrying looks heavy, right?  Without Christ, the Law casts the heavy yoke of our sin upon us, and we lack the ability to cast our sins off us.  Jesus, however, takes the yoke of our sin off, and He invites us to carry His light and easy yoke of peace and meekness.  In Christ, the shackles are off and we are free in Him.  Read these revealing words by St. Paul:


"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ were also baptised into His death?  We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.  We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin...  For the death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus...  For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:3-7, 10-11, 14; bold prints added).


Read that over again if you must; read it as many times as you need to in order to fully grasp this amazing concept...  We are no longer slaves to sin, therefore do not allow it to throw a yoke upon you and carry the condemnation it has in the Law.  We are under grace, not Law.  Paul continues, "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:16-18; bold prints added).  We are no longer slaves of sin but slaves of righteousness!  Now, do not think of "slave" in the modern, worldly sense.  Like Paul says in verse nineteen, he was speaking "in human terms because of [our] natural limitations."  He used similar language so that we would understand.  In the original Greek, the words "slave" and "servant" are the same word (δούλος).  So this "slavery" is not chattel slavery as we often think, but rather one of loving service.


We are servants of righteousness — the righteousness of Christ that we receive through faith (Romans 3:22).  The yoke of Christ is His righteousness.  Take this yoke upon yourself and learn from Him because He is meek and humble and He will give you rest.  The yoke of sin is hard and heavy, but the yoke of Christ's righteousness and grace is easy and light.  Whenever you are struggling with the burden of the sin that enslaves you, remember these words by St. Paul in the Spirit and especially the words of Christ.
 


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The substance of that address was, to be sure, just what the substance of all his primary proclamations to Gentile hearers was, namely, God and the judgment. At least no distinctive foulness was attributed to a god confessedly unknown. Perhaps just because of its undifferentiation and indefiniteness it might therefore seem a purer symbol of that seeking after God for which God had destined all nations when He appointed to them the ordained times and limits of their habitation, if by any chance they might feel Him and so find Him. Not by all its wisdom, he tells us, has the world come to know God, but in these higher elaborations also, becoming vain in its imaginations, its foolish heart has only become darkened. Religion exists and must exist everywhere where man lives and thinks and feels and acts.

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We can really learn so much things from Him! It costs a lot!

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The yoke of slavery is shown through all the bible and that is a must to read it.

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