Freedom

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law,weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4 ESV)

I received this picture from a cousin a few weeks ago.

This is my uncle, my Father’s older brother.  When I look at this picture, I can see my Father in his face and eyes.  I never knew my Uncle.  He enlisted in the Army at the breakout of World War 2 and never returned to the hills of Kentucky where he grew up. He lost his life during the Invasion of Normandy.  I thought about his sacrifice, as well as the millions of others who paid the ultimate price for our Freedom.

Freedom is a funny thing. It’s supposed to be free, yet it’s only achieved at a great cost. And the moment we forget the cost, in some ways we stop being free. We become enslaved to privilege and entitlement. We all to willingly give up our freedoms.

Freedom comes at a cost. The other day I was reading an article on what happened to the original signers of the Declaration of Independence.  While much of what happened to them has been exaggerated or at least embellished over the years, there can be no doubt that they, along with many in the colonies suffered for the ideal of freedom. At least one lost a child during a battle. Some of the signers were agreed as traitors. Others wounded in battle.  Almost all of them endured a loss of both prosperity as well as property. One wonders if they contemplated what they, along with so many others, would give up in order to be free. I’d like to think they did and were ready to pay the price for freedom.

Freedom has always come at a great price. It strikes at the very bedrock of our faith.  In Romans, Paul notes that our freedom came at the ultimate sacrifice as Jesus, True God of True God, died on a cross for you and I. The death and resurrection of Jesus set us free. Free from death and free from the tyranny of sin.  Those whom Christ has set free, are free indeed. (John 8:36)

It seems though that today, the church has misinterpreted what freedom in Christ  means. We seem to live as if freedom means having the ability to do whatever you want, to believe whatever you want.  After all didn’t Jesus say something that we shouldn’t judge? (Editorial comment: No He didn’t. Jesus does talk about not being hypocritical in our judgment which is an entirely different thing). As Long as I’m not hurting anybody who is so say what I do is wrong? What is truth anyway? Your truth may not be the same as my truth so who is to say who is wrong or right

Freedom in Christ doesn’t mean having the ability to do what you want. Actually the opposite.  At the end of Romans 7, Paul depicts a person who lives with this type of freedom and discovers he is truly enslaved. He doesn’t do what he should and does what he doesn’t want to do. The freedom we experience in Christ is the freedom to not do whatever we want. It comes with the realization that when we do what we want we inevitably enslave ourselves to sin, or our whims or heaven help us the ever-changing “truth” of a constantly shifting culture.  The freedom we experience in Christ is the freedom to live a certain way, to experience holiness and right living as instructed in the Scriptures.  I know me. And the worst thing I could do is to do whatever I want. I want to do whatever Jesus wants. That’s true freedom.

The freedom in Christ extends itself to others. We se that the idea, “as long as we don’t hurt others” is a lie. There is so activity in which we can partake that doesn’t affect someone else. We are  a part of the Body of Christ, not separate members.  We even have the freedom to not do what might even be permissible if it would hurt the faith of a more immature Christian.

The freedom we have in Christ is freedom, not seek out own truth, but to acknowledge and live by the ultimate truth of Christ. I’ve always loved that line of reasoning “You’re turth might not be the same as my truth”  I would have loved to have been able to use that in Algebra back in High School. I would have gotten much better grades.  Rather the freedom we have in Christ allows us to see there is absolute truth. And it may not agree with our current culture. But we have the freedom to live by it anyway because it is truth.

Freedom always comes at a great cost. When we forget the cost we often lose our freedom. May you experience and live by the freedom given to you in Christ.

 

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><

 

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