Is Freedom Important?
There are many different aspects to freedom. When we celebrate our freedom and independence on July 4th, what freedom are we celebrating? Obviously there are many freedoms we hold dear as citizens of the United States. We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, etc. The truth is, these freedoms are only available to us because of one overarching freedom: freedom from a tyrannical government.
One definition of freedom is: absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government. When there is an oppressive governmental structure in place, all citizens feel the impact of restricted personal freedoms. No matter how much they desire to exercise their rightful freedoms, they cannot without penalty, due to the law of which they are under. In America, we exercise our freedoms without fear of repercussion, because our ruling government guarantees this right. This ultimately shapes how we all live out our day to day lives. It's a true gift to all who have the blessing to live within this country.
Now, with our freedom comes stipulations. I think we can all agree that, the freedom provided to us, does not permit us to do whatever we want or feel. That's not the freedom we are entitled to. In America, we are free to exercise our given and defined rights, but there are still laws that govern and protect us and need to be followed as a society. Freedom does not mean anarchy. True freedom gives us permission to live as we were created to live within a structure that provides a strong and sturdy foundation for all to stand upon.
The Declaration of Independence states it perfectly:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
So how does this discussion on freedom within our society apply to our walk of faith? For starters, I think many of us who have been in the faith for any length of time, have heard and read that, "In Christ there is freedom." We may "amen" and applaud that truth, but do we really know WHAT we are free from? Do we really understand that we NEEDED to be set free? Unless we understand the oppression that we were under, the impact of our freedom in Christ cannot be experienced. The Apostle Paul defined this freedom perfectly:
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Jesus came to set us free from the rule of SIN. You see, the law of the Spirit is the authority and power of the Spirit; the law of sin is the authority and power of sin. Before Christ, sin and death had authority and power over us all. Our flesh (feelings, desires, thoughts, etc.) governed our every action. Actions opposed to the life giving ways of God. We were hopelessly in bondage to the governing force of our flesh. But Christ came and lived a perfectly sinless life, then paid the price of death for our sin. When He rose again to life, He defeated the oppressive regime of sin and death and made freedom from flesh possible for all who follow Him.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Much like our freedom in America, freedom in Christ is not freedom to do as we please. It's not moral anarchy. Sin creates anarchy. Our God given freedom gives us the ability to live our lives out from under the oppressive governing force of SIN. Before Christ, sin denied us the life and hope found within a relationship with our Father in heaven. Sin literally robbed us of how God created us to live. So God established a new law for His creation, by coming to earth and defeating the tyrannical government of sin. Now our freedom in Christ guarantees that all things can be new for us as His children. In Christ, God establishes for us a foundation of order, peace, strength, and life through His commands. But He doesn't stop there: He then provides us His Spirit to help us walk according to those ways. It's in following Him that we experience true LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS.
Freedom is important!
2 Peter 1:2
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.