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Enjoy day 1 of the Set Free devotional 
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Read Galatians 1 in your preferred translation with a particular focus on vv.1-5. You may also like to consider the opening verses in The Message Paraphrase.

Study Note - The word 'rescue' that Paul uses in v.4 is the same Greek word that is used in Acts when describing the Israelites escape from Egypt, Peter’s escape from prison and Paul’s rescue from a mob ready to lynch him. It's use in Galatians 1:4 is the only time that it is used metaphorically in the New Testament. In choosing to use this word, Paul is painting a strong and vivid picture for us that what we need to be rescued from is a very real form of bondage.

The book of Exodus records for us God's first (and can I say rather impressively miraculous), rescue mission of His people. After hundreds of years of slavery He raises up a deliverer, Moses, to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into freedom. But there's a problem - even though they are no longer living in Egypt, Egypt is still in them. They are physically free but still thinking and behaving like they are slaves - there are times where they even think that they would be better off back in Egypt! It took forty years of wilderness living to raise up a generation that were free of Egypt and ready to enter the promised land that God had for them.

God cares about the physical freedom and safety of His people - but He cares even more about our spiritual freedom. He wants to see us free on the inside - so that we are no longer slaves to sin, but empowered to live a new life. And so another rescue mission was mounted. But this time, no earthly deliverer would do, because only God Himself had the power to truly set us free once and for all.

The book of Galatians is all about that rescue mission - it outlines what we have been delivered from, but also what we have been delivered to. And in a sense, it is all summed up in the opening five verses.

By the grace of God, we have been given peace with God. We know what grace is because Jesus demonstrated it when He freely and willingly gave Himself for our sins; when He took our place and paid the price on the Cross for all our wrong-doing, all our short-comings. His sacrifice delivered us from our personal Egypt, set us free from the power and penalty of sin. Every debt we owed and could never repay, paid in full by the blood of Jesus so that we can live forgiven.

And if that weren't enough, He rescued us from the present evil age. The Bible divides history into two ages, ‘this age’ in which we see much evil because satan while defeated is still active - and the ‘age to come.’ The age to come - the reign of Heaven  - has begun with Christ, but ‘this age’ has not been completed and so there is a crossover that we have to navigate; the reality of Heaven in our lives is both now and still yet.

God's rescue mission does not change where we live this side of eternity, but it does change how we live. Because we are forgiven, we have peace with God and from this place of being in right relationship with Him, He empowers us by His Spirit to live differently, to think differently. We might be in this world but we are no longer of it; no longer governed by it because Christ's death and resurrection has delivered us to a new life - the life of the age to come. The Kingdom is released within us, allowing us to live from the inside out instead of being shaped by external pressures.

Just like the Israelites had to go on a journey to get Egypt out of them, God graciously takes us on a journey of renewing our minds; of teaching us to stand firm in our new-found freedom so that we can continue His rescue mission and bring Him glory.

One of the reasons that Paul shares his testimony in this first chapter is to demonstrate God's incredible saving grace in his own life. Every single one of us needs Jesus to rescue us. Without Him, we are all slaves. How has He rescued you? Take a moment to reflect on what His gifts of grace and peace have meant in your own life and to celebrate the place of freedom that He has brought you to.

Just like we have all needed to be rescued, we are all still on a journey of realising the fullness of what the Cross means in our lives. Our freedom has been purchased but there are often specific areas that we can struggle to actually experience it in. Where in your life do you need to practically experience the freedom that God has promised you? Invite the Holy Spirit to speak truth into your life as we study His Word over these next two weeks.
 
Father I am so grateful for your heart to see me live in freedom - thank You for mounting a rescue mission to save me! Jesus, I thank You for laying down Your life for me - I know that the price of my freedom was exceedingly great. I ask Holy Spirit that You empower me and give me a deeper revelation of what the Cross means in my life - of the incredible grace that has been released to me - so that I can stand firm in and enjoy my freedom. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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