“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Freedom in Christ
Positioned prominently above the gates of Auschwitz, a sign greeted the Jewish prisoners as they entered the camp. Arbeit Macht Frei: “Work Sets You Free.” It was an empty promise. They worked themselves to exhaustion, but the only escape they found was in death.
Arbeit Macht Frei is an ideal that sounds reasonable, even appealing. If we do the right things, we will have freedom and approval. But no amount of work will add up to the standard of glory that God expects from us. The only payment we receive for our efforts is death.
Jesus Christ has set us free from our dead-end existence. For us, he labored flawlessly under his Father’s law. For our salvation, he paid for our guilt on the cross with his sinless life. By faith in Christ, we are free from the law’s demands and empty promises. Rather than our own works setting us free from God’s anger, it is Jesus’ work that sets us free.
Remember this when your guilt is getting the better of you. Remember that the hard work of getting your soul to heaven has already been done, by Jesus. Then, like St. Paul, spend your life living for the one who has paid the price for your entrance through the pearly gate of heaven!
Lord Jesus, help me believe that all you did, suffered, and endured you did to rescue me and set me free. In the hope of your resurrection, teach me to live in the freedom I have in you. Amen.