Galatians 5:1-4—So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
The people Paul was writing to here were trying to crawl back into the pen of sin. The pen of sin keeps us limited, away from our God-given potential, by trapping us. (You can read more about the sin pen here.) These people were already believers in Jesus, the Savior who sets us free from the pen. They were already free! But they were trying to place limits on God’s grace.
Any of us can fall into this same trap. We begin to think that maybe there’s something more to God’s grace than just having our faith be in Jesus. We start to believe that it’s more about what we do or don’t do—instead of walking by the power of God, we’re walking ourselves right back into the cage.
But God says something different. The whole Bible is God’s story of how He is at work in our world, by showing love, grace, and mercy to humanity and redeeming His creation. He didn’t create us to live trapped and in bondage, but to walk in freedom and fulfill the purpose He has given us.
Grace empowers us to live our lives in freedom, but our enemy and the desires of our flesh work against us, trying to bind us and keep us from this freedom. But 2 Timothy 1:7 says this: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” When we face temptations that try to tempt us back into the cage, back into captivity to our sin, we need to face it with boldness and have the audacity to say, “Not today. You’re not going to help me get back into the cage—not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”