“A Heart for Freedom”
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Freedom — The Election is taking up most of my time and attention and even my theological thoughts are leaning to those things that represent our God-given freedoms. Here is another article I wrote back in 2005 on “freedom” that is àpropos for today as we celebrate the July 4th Independence Day. As God’s Word teaches, “there is nothing new under the sun.”
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Freedom –I have thought about this subject over the last week especially in light of the events in the world of elections, turmoil, wars, terrorism and natural disasters. It is a word that conjures up many thoughts, emotions, doctrine and ideals. It is something that has meaning in theological, spiritual, political, historical, geographical, real, emotional and other applications. It is a word that brings faith, joy, hope, strength, courage and perseverance to all people. We have seen it applied and in action in our own lives, in family life, in spiritual life, and in our own countries in church, civil and government life. It’s a big word with big meaning. It is a word that strikes deep into the heart of every man and women because God has placed the desire for freedom in the heart and mind of every living creature. We live freedom every day in every way. Whether it is what we eat or drink, where we go, what we see and do, what we read and learn, how we love and share, God has implanted this desire within us. It is a good and generous gift from God.
As we watched the elections in Iraq we have seen people who want to be free and have the liberty to vote for those that will have the rule over them. They want the right to exercise that gift that is given by God, to choose their own elected officials. In our governments and churches, our Sovereign God has likewise given us the liberty to choose our leaders and to vote for those that will serve Him in executing righteous judgment and to serve us and our neighbors. It is a God-ordained gift of freedom to be able to cast our ballot and vote. In so doing, we are called to good judgment and stewardship by electing those good and just men to carry out God’s mandate to the nations to rule righteously under Him and for the good of the people.
Freedom in nations comes at a cost and the cost is not free. It comes through prayer, battles, war, loss of life, difficulties and sometimes much sorrow as seen in many of the books of our Bible and especially the Old Testament. It is the same today as it was then — “wars and rumors of wars” and battles over land and sovereignty. We have seen it up close and personal, death and destruction and many times in the loss of a loved one in our own family. We are not novices to understand freedom and what it means. It is daily on our television sets, in our news, in our discussions. A reminder of late is the face of the people of Iraq and their deliverance from a corrupt and evil government. They are fighting for their lives day and night and have shown courage these last days in going out to vote on election day despite the evil terrorists and their evil intent to kill or maim those that exercise their right of freedom to vote. The joy on the faces of the Iraq people could only bring that deep emotional understanding of experienced freedom of heart and mind to the viewer and one could not help but cry at the sight of it. We saw in it their hope for tomorrow for a people long oppressed by evil and we were reminded again of God’s gifts of hope, peace and deliverance.
As I looked upon these things, I could not help but reflect on God’s Word and its many stories of freedom and deliverance of men and women but especially in its application to freedom/liberty of the soul. Christ has said,
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
This is true freedom indeed! This is what understanding the wholeness of freedom is — a total true freedom is freedom in Christ. It is an ultimate freedom, not as the world gives, not as man or courts or governments dictate but it is the “royal” freedom — the “freedom of freedom” that men truly need. Our knowledge, desire and understanding of freedoms in the world are just a picture of what true freedom is. They help us to understand, feel and to desire freedom but that freedom is and never will be comparable to the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, our Lord. They are schoolmasters to bring us to Christ. Thus, as we see countries set at liberty and freed from tyranny and bondage, we, as believers are reminded that true freedom is from Christ alone. He alone delivers from bondage. It should encourage us as His children to “go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature” so that their hearts, minds and souls can truly be set free. The world and all it offers can only give a “temporary” freedom, a “balm” for this life, but God gives an everlasting freedom that comes to all who believe in Him. It is His ultimate gift to His people. Believe it, exercise it and be reminded of from whence it comes. Pray for the people of the world that they may know this Christ and truly be “free indeed” not only for today and tomorrow but for eternity.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more than, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:6-21
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