Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Harriet Tubman was an American bondwoman who escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She was born in Maryland in 1820, and successfully escaped in 1849. Yet she returned many times to rescue both family members and non-relatives from the plantation system. She led hundreds to freedom in the North as the most famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, an elaborate secret network of safe houses organized for that purpose.
Harriet Tubman was a slave but not by choice. She escaped slavery but returned to the South to help those whom she loved and those she didn’t even know. Slavery was hard and physical violence was a part of daily life for her and her family. The violence she suffered early in life caused permanent physical injuries. Harriet later recounted a particular day when she was lashed five times before breakfast. She carried the scars for the rest of her life. The most severe injury occurred when Harriet was an adolescent. Sent to a dry-goods store for supplies, she encountered a slave who had left the fields without permission. The man’s overseer demanded that Tubman help restrain the runaway. When Harriet refused, the overseer threw a two-pound weight that struck her in the head. Tubman endured seizures, severe headaches and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life. (Narcolepsy: a condition characterized by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings.) Freedom was an important aspect in the life of Harriet Tubman and in the lives of others that were slaves during our great Civil War.
As Harriet Tubman returned to help slaves gain their freedom, Christ has come that we might be freed from the bondage of sin. Through His great sacrifice, we are made free from the oppression and guilt of our transgressions. What is Christian freedom? What does it mean when we say we are free in Christ? The believer’s old self is dead, crucified with Christ. When someone trusts Christ as their Savior, they are spiritually participating with Him in His crucifixion and victory over sin. Galatians 2:20 says,“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” We are free to live a life that honors Christ, not a life under the law in a yoke of bondage, but in freedom, by the grace of God.
When we trust Christ we become rich, spiritually wealthy, and we’re able to share in the riches of God’s grace, wisdom and knowledge. We are complete in Him and can live the kind of life Christ wants us to live. We are free to live life to the fullest never missing out on anything God has for us. Some people make others feel that they are missing something if they don’t live by a set of rules set up by man. Listen to what Paul said, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (Laws and rules for knowing Christ) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
The Jews were accepting circumcision as a way to obtain salvation, becoming debtors to the whole law. If we believe that the things that we do, brings true salvation, we become debtors to do the whole law as well. We are spiritually unable to keep the whole law and to save ourselves. There is only One that can keep the law perfectly, He is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The law is unable to change a person on the inside, it takes the power of God from within to transform a life. That power only comes from the Holy Spirit of God at conversion.
Christ wants us to enjoy the liberty we have in Christ and walk by the Spirit of God, pleasing Him. Walking implies that we are being controlled by the Holy Spirit, and guided by His will, resulting in righteous behavior. If we are not led by the Spirit of God, we are prompted by the flesh which can sway the mind, will, and emotions of a person, subjecting them to sin. We need to be careful not to entangle ourselves in the yoke of bondage again after salvation. When we have rules and regulations controlling our lives, as the Jews did, we’re not walking in freedom by the Spirit of God, but in drudgery.
Thought: Harriet Tubman loved her fellowman enough that she risked her life to help set some of them free from the chains of slavery. In Christ’s love for sinners, He freely gave up His life, shedding His blood on the cross to pay the price for man’s freedom. Our freedom is not earned, bought, or achieved by human effort or merit, but given to us freely through God’s amazing grace. When we repent of our sins, and trust Him with all of our heart, soul and mind, we are “Born Again” by the Spirit of God. We are made free indeed! “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). This is true freedom!