Freedom

I usually tend to stay away from holiday themed articles—not because I don’t like them, but honestly, because I forget about them.  By the time I finish writing and hit “publish” I forget about the upcoming events.  I did, however, remember Independence Day.  I guess because I was reading a passage in 2 Corinthians that says,

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (3:17, ESV).

Freedom.  What an interesting term.  Webster, in his 1828 Dictionary (which, by the way, isn’t watered down and coated with political correctness) defines freedom as this:

A state of exemption from the power or control of another; liberty; exemption from slavery, servitude or confinement. Freedom is personal, civil, political, and religious.”

Freedom and Liberty are the two things we as Americans celebrate on the Forth of July.  It’s when  we commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, where we claimed freedom from the British Empire.

Freedom is an amazing word, but an even more incredible concept. It has inspired the greatest Nation of all time, the United States of America—a nation so devoted to the idea that,

“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.” (Declaration of Independence)

that people literally gave/give their lives to keep that freedom.  I truly am grateful to the men and women who have valued freedom so much that they fought and died to preserve the idea that our founding fathers had. I am extremely grateful for the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to preserve my freedom.  To them, I say, “Thank you.”

What is God’s definition of “Freedom” and “Liberty?” It’s an important question. I think we gain insight to this from the above passage in 2 Corinthians.  God is Spirit, and where His Spirit is, there is freedom (my paraphrase).  Freedom from what?

“The freedom Paul has in mind in this context is freedom not only from the law and sin but also the freedom to boldly radiate the glory of God in spreading the true gospel of Christ. The Spirit in the life of the Christian is this full glory of God freeing the sons and daughters of God from their slavery to sin and death” (College Press NT commentary).

True Freedom, then, is Jesus’ Gospel. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2 when He said,

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19, NIV).

So was Jesus on a mission to march into prison and let all the inmates go?  Not physically, but spiritually.  The prison is not a jail cell, but rather our soul that was shackled to death by our sin.  This freedom can’t be granted through a military conquest, through government legislation, or through a Supreme Court ruling. No!  It can only be given by God Himself.

Jesus says this:

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, 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 8:31-36, NIV).

True freedom can only be found in Jesus.  It’s there that the soul finds liberty to be who it was created to be, and to embrace those “unalienable (irrevocable) rights” given by God.  This is the freedom that not only frees men and women, but recreates them(2 Cor. 5:17), restores them, and revives them to the true life God intended for us from the beginning.  Jesus came and fought and died for our freedom.  He purchased it with His own blood.  So what will you do with that freedom?  Just something to think about.

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