What does it mean to be free? Many people think that being a Christian means having to adhere to a list of dos and don'ts. And based on what we see and hear from many fundamentalists, that would seem to be the case.
After all, Romans 6:17-18 says, "But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness." But the Christian life is one of liberty, and being a "slave of righteousness" is about being free to serve Christ.
I think the essence of Christian liberty can be summed up in Galatians 1:10: "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Submitting to the Lordship of Christ means that we are free to serve him without worrying about pleasing others. For if we go through life trying to live up to everyone else's expectations, we are doomed to failure. It's an impossible task. In trying to please one person, we will certainly offend someone else. Being a slave to righteousness eliminates that problem. In other words, having only one Master is more liberating than having many.
Now, one can argue that it is even more impossible to live up to God's expectations. Well, yes, that's true. But that is what grace is all about. Through the cross, Christ's righteousness has become our righteousness. The need to live up to a particular standard has already been taken care of.
As Christians, we have been given a blessed gift. May we all learn to live a life of liberty in Christ Jesus.