Let Freedom Ring

I have always enjoyed the 4th of July. Since I was a kid, I l have loved watching fireworks shows. As a trumpet player, I enjoy the patriotic songs and Sousa marches. Since moving to Ada, I appreciate turning onto Main Street and seeing all the flags out. I have always felt blessed to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” We celebrate that independence every year, but it is not the greatest freedom we can have as Christians.
We can learn a lot about how God views freedom in the New Testament. Freedom as He describes it has nothing to do with which earthly government is in charge, and its source is not a document from 1776. Even the Declaration of Independence acknowledges that our freedom (the right to liberty) is given by our Creator. So what does God teach us about freedom?
  • Jesus gives freedom. Jesus understands better than anyone what the lack of freedom does. He was there in the beginning and knew what happened when people took the freedom of others or lost their own. For the people of His time, He brought freedom from the old covenant and hope in the new one. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)
  • The presence of the Spirit gives freedom. When our lives show clear evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, we are freed from a myriad of problems. With His guidance, we can be freed from even more. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
  • Following Jesus gives freedom. People convince themselves that sin brings pleasure, fun and no limits. Instead it actually binds and enslaves. Living as disciples frees us. “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’” (John 8:34-36)
  • Freedom is not free. We have seen that phrase on t-shirts and bumper stickers, but it is clearly taught in scripture. Jesus gives us freedom, but it is not without a price. It was paid for with His sacrifice. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Galatians 3:13-14)
  • The gospel still gives freedom. We must tell the story of Jesus, so that others can enjoy the same freedom we do. Ironically the book of Acts ends with Paul freely teaching others how to receive the liberty the gospel provides, while he was imprisoned. The Greek word that describes how he taught means to speak freely and boldly. “He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (Acts 28:31)
As we celebrate our freedom this weekend, let’s give thanks to the One who gives us the greatest freedom. Let’s take that message of freedom to the world around us.
– Brian

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