This weekend people throughout America will celebrate Independence day. Grills will be grilling, fireworks will be firing and people will be enjoying the freedom our nation experiences because of the courage of our fastidious forefathers back in 1776.
So much of our view of freedom in America is conditioned by the idea of throwing off the oppressor or getting rid of the man. After all, the King of England needed to go in the birth of the new nation. Yet I have been intrigued for some time about the Scriptural view of freedom. It certainly involves freedom from certain oppressive enemies (sin, death, demonic powers and hell come to mind), but it also involves freedom to a new dependence upon God and one another.
I have to admit that I can tend towards rebellion and want to live strong, independent and free. Nothing wrong with most of that…well, maybe the rebellion part needs some work. Yet I am reminded by the gospel that God sets us free through Jesus into relationship, into community and into service.
A few passages on freedom for the road:
- John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
- Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
- Romans 6:17-23 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. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This weekend as we thank God for our nation and then let us join together on the 5th of July to give thanks for our unique freedom in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Oh yeah, to all my patriotic Jesus friends - just remember, Jesus was not an American…so lets hold off on the artwork with Jesus drapped in American flags surrounded by bald eagles and such. Please?