"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1......"Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art, how great Thou art ."
T. Austin-Sparks gives the meaning for freedom here as being, "one who has escaped from slavery and is breathing free air." For me, this brings to mind a picture of the life of many slaves in the ancient Roman world. Countless thousands labored in dark, suffocating salt and mineral mines, never seeing the light of day, never breathing anything but stale, stagnant air. Few ever escaped such a life, but if they did, surely there could be nothing more precious to them than coming out of the darkness into the light, and breathing, perhaps for the first time ever, free air.
No matter how much our fleshly pride wants to deny it, we are all born into slavery, held in the grip of a fallen world, and the sin that permeates it. We have no means at all of getting ourselves out of it. I'm reminded of the miners in South America who were trapped for many days after the mine they were working in collapsed, entombing them all. A rescue mission was mounted, and against all odds, they reached the men thought hopelessly lost. They were brought out to a watching world that celebrated their rescue. They once more breathed free air. That was a great thing. Yet an infinitely greater one happens when Jesus Christ, focused on His own rescue mission, brings out even one lost soul from the darkness and death that has encased them. Out into the free air of the Kingdom of God. Darkness and death held them captive. But Christ, who on His cross crushed the power of both, broke through all the rubble of a fallen life and rescued them. He brought them out. He brought me out. Has He yet to bring you out?
What would be your thought if those rescued miners, after breathing that free air, had to remain in the dank, suffocating atmosphere of the mine? Ludicrous you say. No one would do that you say. Yet, in the spiritual realm, there are many who do. They have been so used to breathing the air of slavery that they choose it over the air of the Kingdom. We see something of this in the lives of the disciples. When on the Mt. of Transfiguration with Jesus, they were breathing the atmosphere of heaven, and they saw and heard the things of heaven. Yet when they returned to the valley, they once again began "breathing" its air. They didn't continue to live in the atmosphere, in the free air of the Kingdom, and they fell under the lowlands power once more. Jesus however lived and breathed the Kingdom atmosphere wherever He was. Free air in all places....even as He went to the cross. He calls us to the same, and He fills not only our tunnel of escape with that air, but supplies it in infinite measure wherever we are. Do you breathe it where you are right now? Or do you continue to breathe in the atmosphere of the slavery Christ came to set you free from? Slaves to attitudes, habits, self-images, legalistic mind-sets, and worst of all, a false idea of what freedom, what salvation really is?
We were created not for this world, but His....which in Christ is also ours. It's free air that's really free. It's oxygen for our souls, and we're to breathe deeply of it. It's sweetness is to fill our lungs, heart, mind and spirit. Does it fill yours now? If you have never encountered the living Christ, know that He has dug through all the rubble of your collapsed world, your sin, failure, and lack, to reach you. He extends His hand to bring you out. Do you take it? Or do you remain in the darkness and death of your "mine?" If you say that He has indeed reached you in that place, and has brought you out of it, do you live as if it is so? Are you breathing the free air of His Kingdom, living in its atmosphere? Or, do you have an unseen, but ever present "tank" strapped onto your back, filled with the stifling air of the kingdom that He rescued you from? Still breathing its air, still living in its atmosphere? It's for freedom He set you free. Do you live in that freedom now? It's the "song of the soul set free." Do you sing it today?