Tuesday, July 04, 2006

America, Freedom, and Forgiveness

What is the relationship between Freedom and Forgiveness? And what does that have to do with the 4th of July?

What does it mean to be set free?

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law says
to relieve or rid of what constrains, confines, restricts, or burdens.

We value our freedom in America. But does our political freedom really relieve of us of what constrains, confines, restricts, or burdens us? I do not want to devalue our freedom in any way. I cherish it. I am so thankful that God, in His grace, put me in the USA. I have been to four continents and many countries but have never considered taking up residence anywhere else.

But there is a limit to my freedom here. My freedom is limited by my own anxieties. My freedom is constrained to the point that it doesn't interfer with someone else's freedom. How do I become truly free?

Jesus says:
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Our only true freedom comes from the Truth given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. What does he mean when He says that He will set us free? Free from what?

Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

We are free from sin, it's punishment, and even it's presence. It doesn't mean that we don't ever sin again, but we aren't bound to sin, we are bound to Christ.

But how do we take advantage of that freedom?
Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

He died so that we could be free. Our part is to receive the forgiveness that He offers to each of us based on His love for us, not based on what we have done or can do. And then we can live in the freedom through the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

His desire is that we live in that freedom, not doing whatever we want, but doing what He wants. Today, as we are so grateful for our political freedom, we celebrate it, we sing about it, we shoot off fireworks in honor of it. How do we celebrate our personal freedom in Christ? We celebrate it, we sing about it, but more than anything, we celebrate our freedom by following our Lord, out of our love for Him.

I truly believe that God does want us to help the whole world find true freedom. I do wish they all had the political and economic freedom we have, but a person can still be enslaved personally. True freedom comes through a freedom from sin. God wants us to live in that freedom!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1