Real Freedom or Just Bobby McGee?
“Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-32 & 36
July 4th is America’s holiday; a perpetual declaration of her independence. We celebrate our nation’s birthday in a very BIG way: fireworks, picnics, parades and patriotic performances. As Americans we have much for which to be proud and thankful; blessed abundantly with liberty and the many freedoms associated with it. And rather than hoard our liberty we have shared it with many people around the globe; inspiring the initiation of one democracy after another on every continent. Despite the cynicism of numerous naysayers: university professors, “intellectual elites, bombastic journalists, the historically ignorant; apart from God’s raising up and using American liberty and strength, the world would be a sorry pit of petty tyrants, cruel dictators, and evil, self-serving Mugabes, Saddam Husseins, Hitlers, and the like. So despite our many flaws, once again on another July 4th we can still celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in America. No one is fighting to leave her; rather people from everywhere are doing everything to get in! Sort of flies in the face of most everything the naysayers write today of our country.
I deeply appreciate, as I am sure you do, the independence of our nation, and the precious privilege of being born, living, and being a citizen in this great democracy. Yet it is worth thinking about when we speak of liberty and freedom either as an individual or as a nation, it is seldom if ever you will hear someone say in such a context, “Yes, but I am thankful most of all for my REAL freedom; freedom from my sin and my guilt. For when the Bible speaks of freedom and liberty THIS IS ITS PRECISE FOCUS! When Jesus speaks of freedom, it is NOT freedom from political tyrants and dictators; it is freedom from sin and guilt and condemnation for our sin. And through the centuries of world history most Christians have lived not under democracy, but under dictatorships, tyrants, and monarchies, not infrequently run by evil kings. All the more reason to give thanks for our blessings; OR, maybe not. Would we more deeply appreciate and treasure our freedom in Christ, if we suffered as our Christian brothers and sisters have historically under the rule of despots and tyrants? I doubt any of us desire that, but what will it take to raise in our consciousness the love of sins forgiven, the appreciation of redemption from sin’s disgrace, and the passionate affection to be a slave to righteousness? Paul says to true believers, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18) Is that how you would describe your freedom: a slave to righteousness?
It is not a bad thing for us to celebrate national independence as American citizens. But it is a far better thing as a citizen of heaven to love and live freedom from sin and its ugly stains by being covered, redeemed, and washed in the blood of Christ. It does you no good if you do not know and remember what that means and appropriate its truth in your life. There is no freedom like it. You can live in a grand democracy like America and be miserable. You can live anywhere with the knowledge of being set free by the Son, no matter your physical circumstances. No one really knows freedom until they experience it in Christ! Janis Joplin wrote in her famous song, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose… This only makes sense if what you lose is your sinful self, not Bobby McGee. If we die to ourselves, and the sins we cling to, and live unto Christ and His righteousness, we will only and really know freedom!
“Father, open my eyes to my freedom in Christ, if indeed I am in Him and He is in me. May I love my freedom from sin and guilt more than this life, for because of it I have a better home.
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