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Freedom - It's That Important!

Freedom – It’s That Important!

       No doubt there is a great deal of discussion about freedom, liberty, and rights among Americans this week.   This is in part because of the holiday that is set aside to celebrate our country gaining its independence from a nation that would oppress the citizenry of this great land.   Others are talking about these things as some have a difference of opinion as to what freedom means, what liberty entails, and how far one’s rights allow them to go.
     About fifty years ago, Janis Joplin immortalized a line from a song written by Kris Kristofferson entitled “Me and Bobby McGee”. This line contained a rather distorted view of freedom. That line is: “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” I ask, if you have nothing left to lose, are you free? By the same token, if we have everything the world has to offer, are we free? The obvious answer per Luke 9:25 is provided by the Lord. He said: For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?   Or, as this is stated in Mark 8:36 - For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
      From a civil standpoint, freedom is important, and so far, our government has guaranteed this to the citizens of our great nation. Documents are in place that clearly state the rights which guarantee our freedom.   These can be read in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and its Amendments.   Some of these Amendments have been added through the years as our understanding of issues have increased to provide freedom for all the nation’s citizens. These must be followed if we are to remain free.
       There are efforts underway on the part of some to undermine, restrict, or remove these rights from others.   Those who would do so also have a warped concept of freedom. Evidence of this is very apparent when these folks’ “perceived” rights are challenged.   They want what they call “their freedom” but have no qualms about quashing the freedoms of others.  
       However, there is one freedom which God offers and no man can take it from another. It is the freedom one has “in Christ”.   In John 18:36 our Lord made this proclamation two ways. Pilate was in the process of asking Christ a series of questions.   These questions were, in part, because of an accusation of sedition against Christ by the Jews.   Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.   Christ’s kingdom is not “earthly” nor can its Laws be dictated by an earthly government.   Those who would become “citizens” of the kingdom of heaven (the church) through obedience to God’s Word have that “freedom in Christ” and no earthly government can take it from Christians.  
      I think it important at this point to focus on a commonality of freedom in the realm of earthly as well as spiritual.   In a society, there are laws which must be followed in order for one to have the promised freedoms under that body of laws which govern them.   In a civil society, (and if things are handled properly), if one “breaks the law”, they lose certain freedoms, at least for a period of time as stated in the law. For example, the law of our land states that one who murders another, and is convicted in a court of law, is to lose his or her freedom (be imprisoned) for the period determined by the court. (As I stated – “if things are handled properly”).  
       The same can be stated about the Law of God to man today.   Man, through following God’s Law can have freedom from sin as is clearly stated in Romans 6:22.  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. God has promised through His Word (His Law) that one needn’t “die” spiritually, but can be rewarded with freedom (& life eternal).   However, just as in a civil society, the Laws that govern, (God’s Written Law) must be followed to have that freedom and to be rewarded.   A huge difference in man’s law and God’s Law is that God Will handle things properly!   2Peter 3:9 assures us of this. It states that God is “giving man time” to accept the “freedom” He offers “in Christ”. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
     But, to have and to enjoy the freedom God offers, one MUST follow God’s Law all the way. Freedom is important! So is following the Word of God! Even in the days when God only had a written Law to Israel this was the case. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7   Today, through His Word, God is calling all to freedom. That freedom is “in Christ”. 2Corinthians 5:17 reminds us that one “in Christ” must be a new creature.   Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  To follow God’s Law is to be made free.  
   This is what Jesus was saying in John 8:36 to the Jews which believed in Him. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Why not seek the freedom that is in Christ today? We can help you by showing you what God has said to do from His Word. We want you to be free.   What do you have to lose?   Just your soul. If you give up your soul and have nothing left to lose, are you free?   I don’t think so. Freedom – It’s that Important!

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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