Digging Deeper into the Word Spiritual Development Uncategorized

Living a Life of Grace and Freedom in Christ

Author: Charles Hegwood

When I was a student, I thought of the word ‘freedom’ as that one moment on the last day of school as I walked out the door. The promise of summer and all of the fun that it would bring could be felt riding on the breeze. I could wake up late with no real schedule. The chains of study and homework were at least temporarily loosened and I was free. Well, mostly free. Temporarily free. Thanks to God that freedom in Christ is much more permanent and much more valuable than a brief reprieve from schoolwork. Paul talked about freedom from sin and death. He talked about freedom in Christ. Hear the words of Paul as he pleads with his readers to stand firm in the freedom Christ gives and avoid placing the law’s yoke back around our necks.  

What is Freedom  

There is beauty in the freedom we have in Christ, but what does it mean to be set free? Freedom in Christ is not freedom to sin. We are not to think of being free as an excuse to sin and do whatever we want, all the while waving around the credit card of grace. Far from it. Paul’s definition of freedom is wrapped up in the context of Galatians chapter 5.  

The issue in the Galatian church was that they wanted to place the yoke of the law back on their shoulders. They wanted to be circumcised because they thought that circumcision would grant them favor in the eyes of the law and the eyes of God. Verse 2 helps the reader to understand the mindset of those seeking circumcision. Paul stated that “Jesus would be of no advantage.” This should alert us that these men were trying to obtain or add to their salvation in another way apart from Christ. The cultural law was familiar and therefore comfortable. Paul, however, relates their previous state to that slavery. Freedom was new and scary for these men. They were quick to retreat to what they knew. They wanted circumcision as a “faith and…” This desire displayed a lack of faith in Jesus according to Paul.  

For us today, it is not a question of circumcision. It is about us chaining ourselves to other practices with the hope of obtaining salvation or holiness apart from Jesus. The add-ons are often the former things we left behind before submitting our lives to Christ. Those things are comfortable and easy. These add-ons could also be extra behaviors too. We may feel insecure about our faith in Jesus and therefore try to add qualifications on top of Jesus’ sacrifice. This is an attempt to further be justified, which is our way of telling God, “you are not enough to save me, let me help.” This is textbook legalism, obsession over obedience apart from faith in Jesus.  

What Freedom Looks Like 

The freedom in Christ that Paul speaks of, frees us from sin and from trying to earn God’s favor. Paul said in many other places that we are not to crawl back to our sinful lifestyles. Some in the church at Galatia thought the blood of Christ was not sufficient for them and therefore they must do more to earn their own righteousness.They then crawled back to their old beliefs and practices. Paul called for freedom from the chains of earning God’s merit because the reality is you cannot. Freedom in Christ is the knowledge that because of Jesus, God is pleased with us. God sees the righteousness of Christ when he looks at us. This is great freedom. Freedom is the grace of God poured out on us. Do not throw extra steps into salvation. In verse seven, Paul called this action disobedience to Christ.  

Where Freedom Is  

Freedom in Christ is found in our daily lives. As I mentioned earlier, freedom from doing things to earn salvation does not equal doing nothing. A believer who is enjoying true freedom in Christ still lives an obedient life to Christ. This believer does not go through life uncaring about what they do, say, or think. Freedom manifests itself in your interactions with people and when no one is looking. Paul was saying that freedom in Christ was the freedom to obey Christ. This means we do good things to please Christ. Doing good things to please God is far different than doing good works to earn God’s favor. Do you see why this is freedom? We never have to wonder if we have done enough good to be righteous. So do not do what the believers in Galatia were doing. They were trying to add extra works to earn God’s salvation in their lives and in the lives of others. Be free to obey Christ because you love Him, and not to earn His love for you.  

3 Important Questions to Ask of Freedom and Grace 

As we wrap up this discussion of freedom in Christ, we must ask ourselves how we apply this text in particular and the freedom of Christ in general to our lives.  

  1. What freedom in Christ truly looks like? 

We have to be aware of the patterns in our lives that we tend to fall back to. If you are like me, a result-oriented person, your temptation might be to add results as a measure of salvation. This is folly and sinful according to Paul.  

  1. Where is freedom in Christ in our lives? 

We need to see this freedom in the good things that we do. It is refreshing to think that as believers, God already loves us . Doing good works is but the icing on the cake of our relationship with God.  

  1. Have I added works and actions to earn faith or call others’ to do so? 

Do good works as an outpouring of your love for God. Help your brothers and sisters embrace their freedom in Christ, breaking free of the shackles of legalism. It is after all, for freedom that Jesus set you free, so be free to live for Christ.  


What Are Gender Roles According to the Bible?

Author: Rachel Kidd 

You’ve probably heard the term before, whether in church or circulating in the news. Maybe it was political, maybe it wasn’t. It may seem complicated and overly politicized, but the concept is pretty simple.  

Gender roles are the social roles you base on your assigned sex, from the way you dress, speak, and conduct yourself with others. It is a social expectation of your identity based on your gender. And this can vary greatly depending on your age, culture, or geographic location.  

For example, when a mother swaddles her baby in a pink blanket today, most in the U.S. would assume the baby is a girl. But, before the 1940’s, a baby wrapped in pink would signify a baby boy to the average American. The color associated with baby boys and girls switched following WWII and a deliberate change by baby blanket manufacturers.1  

Much like color, gender roles are simply culturally based assumptions related to gender and can change over time due to cultural shifts. This is true in any culture, not just the U.S.  

What are the Christian beliefs on gender roles?  

Depending on the denomination you belong to, the church has a few different stances on the gender roles they prescribe to men and women.  

Complementarianism is the theological perspective that men and women have God-ordained, fundamentally different, but complementary roles to play in society, from the home to church. This belief stems from the idea that Adam was created first and Eve was created as his “help meet” and traditional gender roles as prescribed in the time the bible was written. Often in complementarian churches, men take the traditional roles and pastors and elders while women serve in women’s or children’s ministries. In the home, husbands are often the head of the household in a patriarchal model, with wives submitting to their husband.   

Importantly, complementarian theology does not place inherent worthiness on gender. Men and women both are believed to be children of God, with masculinity and femininity made to work in harmony.  

Egalitarianism is another theological perspective that men and women are partners and made equal in the image of God, therefore their roles and gifts are equal rather than complementary. They believe that men and women are equal both in worth in the eyes of the Creator and in their abilities. In this theology, gender does not dictate the roles men or women play in the church or home. Women can typically hold leadership roles in the church, including pastoral and eldership. Often husbands and wives share responsibility of the household, characterized by mutual submission. They often point to the role of women in Jesus’ ministry and how they were elevated beyond their cultural status. At the time, women could not serve as witnesses in court, yet Jesus used two women to share the news of His resurrection to the other disciples.  

Both theological perspectives on gender roles find support in scripture, depending on the interpretation and church denomination. Some typically complementation denominations include  

Orthodox traditions, Southern Baptists, and the Catholic Church. Some egalitarian traditions include the Quakers, Methodists, Lutherans, and the Presbeterian (USA) Church.  

Verses on Gender Roles 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 

God tells us that men and women are made in his image, that we reflect the glory of the Lord in our humanity.  

He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. Genesis 5:2 NIV 

The bible calls male and female, Adam and Eve, blessed as members of mankind. While different, this verse notes that they share both the blessing of God their creator and the humanity He bestowed upon them.  

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28  

Often used as an explanation for egalitarianism, this verse reminds us that our identities, while not insignificant, should not hold more weight than our identity in Jesus. We are reminded that our maleness or femaleness pales in comparison to who we are in Christ.  

Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2 NIV  

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.  1 Peter 3:7 NIV 

These verses in Peter describe the roles husbands and wives should play within Christian marriage, and often are used in complementarian theology. Both roles are clearly defined based on gender, with the wife acting in the submissive role and the husband as the respectful, but firm head of the home.  

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 

Ephesians 5:22-24 

Another verse often used in complementarian theology, the relationship between husband and wife is compared to that of the church and Christ. In this way, the role of both the church and the woman are defined by submission, whereas the man and Christ’s roles are defined by duty-bound and benevolent leadership.  

Regardless of your view on gender roles, whether complementarian or egalitarian, the shared belief lies in our identity as children of God; your gender does not indicate your worth as a believer, no matter your theological perspective. And that is the beauty of the gospel, that we are what Jesus says we are.  

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV