On this birthday of the United States, when we celebrate our freedom, I was thinking about the freedom that Paul speaks of in Romans…the glorious freedom of the children of God. What does this “glorious freedom” entail. I look around me and don’t see any significant change in my status on earth, my milieu, my weltanschauung.
That’s because I have only considered the surface, the secular, the worldly level. On the spiritual level, a vast new creation has opened up for us with the incarnation of our God, the obliteration of our sins and the resurrection of our bodies. These are cases of already-and-not yet. Jesus has become man and started the evolution of man becoming incorporated, i.e. embodied, into his mystical body of divinity. Our sins were nailed to the cross, but until we acknowledge them, realize the devastation, pain and suffering they have caused, not only to us but even to the whole of creation, repent, seek forgiveness by giving forgiveness, only then will our sins and their residual stains of corruption and death be truly gone from our lives. And, finally, while Jesus lead the way in the resurrection and eternal life of himself, the God-Man, the final resurrection of the dead to eternal life is a known in the Father’s mind.
So our freedom of our spirits, our souls and our bodies have yet to be completely achieved, but they are works in progress. In the meantime, for freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1 To what slavery might we be subjected? Scripture seems to reference two. The most obvious is sin: For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. Gal 5:13 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5:19-21.
But Paul also ties sin to the law: What then can we say? That the law is sin? Of course not! Yet I did not know sin except through the law, and I did not know what it is to covet except that the law said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, finding an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetousness. Apart from the law sin is dead. I once lived outside the law, but when the commandment came, sin became alive; then I died, and the commandment that was for life turned out to be death for me. For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it put me to death. Rom 7: 7-11.
“The apostle defends himself against the charge of identifying the law with sin. Sin does not exist in law but in human beings, whose sinful inclinations are not overcome by the proclamation of law. Far from improving the sinner, law encourages sin to expose itself in transgressions or violations of specific commandments (see Rom 1:24; 5:20). Thus persons who do not experience the justifying grace of God, and Christians who revert to dependence on law as the criterion for their relationship with God, will recognize a rift between their reasoned desire for the goodness of the law and their actual performance that is contrary to the law. Unable to free themselves from the slavery of sin and the power of death, they can only be rescued from defeat in the conflict by the power of God’s grace working through Jesus Christ.” [NABRE Notes: Rom 7:7-25]
So it is a freedom from the Law, the 613 Mitzvot (commandments) which Paul points out are impossible to obey perfectly; it is freedom to obey God by obeying His Ten Commandments which are an expansion of the Two Great Commandments of Love of God and love of neighbor. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. The point being that through God’s grace working through Jesus Christ, we can be both helped to live a good life and forgiven when we are not able to perfectly do that. Thus, if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:17-18 You are free to act in accord with God’s will, i.e. guided by the Spirit. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Cor 3:17
Free at last, free at last, Thank the Lord, I am free at last. Be free, yet without using freedom as a pretext for evil, but as slaves of God. 1 Pet 2:16 The one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does. James 1:25 So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. James 2:12
Please God, I need help. I keep running back to the law to see what I am suppose to do. Grant me your grace, the guidance of You, Holy Spirit, that I may obey the Father through following the example, the words, the Way of Jesus, and thus be truly free at last, free at last, and I will thank the Lord, I am free at last!!! Amen. Alleluia!!!
 Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.