Saint Paul, in Chapter 5 of the letter to the Galatians, speaks of freedom and calls for total commitment to Christ which is to be lived in total freedom. Many people don’t understand the nature of the freedom of which he speaks, so here’s a short summary on the nature of our freedom in Christ.
We were created in the image and likeness of God. We were free. We fell from this original state of grace and entered into the fallen state of by original sin, which in their birth, no person escapes. Due to original sin, we, in our fallen state are inclined to sin. Christ died to set us free from sin. If I have died in Christ then I rise in Christ, freed to fulfill the call to holiness. To remain free and unbound by sin, we need grace.
Nature of Our Freedom
Created in the image and likeness of God, we have a deep desire to know and a great capacity to understand. Freedom in fact, pre supposes Knowledge of the Truth (“the truth will set you free” John 8:32) and ignorance is an obstacle to freedom. We need God’s grace to be and to remain free.
Grace allows for the full exercise of human freedom, the proper use of which, enables a person to gradually align his will with God’s. As this happens, a person experiences increased perfection of intellect, allowing him to determine good from evil and free will increases in ability to Choose between Good and Evil. As the person chooses more frequently the good, they increase in perfection. However, continued choosing of evil increases the chains of sin that bind and further disables the person from recognizing, choosing and being able to do the good.
God’s created us Free and in Christ, God frees us once more. We cannot blame God for the human evils that find their origins in the abuse of our freedom. We are not puppets on a sting attached to a stick in the hand of God. Original freedom and freedom in Christ is Never Free from Responsibility. To abuse our freedom is to sin because in doing so, we are acting contrary to our nature which is against the will of God. Human freedom is ordered toward good, it is rooted in the moral obligation to do the good.
To understand more about Grace: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c3a2.htm
To understand more about Freedom: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a3.htm
Fr. Blair Gaynes has been in the Diocese since 2008.