Free In Jesus

Independence Day! Let Freedom Ring! Patriotic greetings from our place to yours. Some of you will read this on the Fourth of July, some will read it in the newspaper later. I need deadlines to get things done, but sometimes they are inconvenient. When writing for newspapers, deadlines get moved, so I am actually writing this on July 1.

Independence and freedom can mean different things to different people. Every kid wants to be independent. Everyone wants to be their own “boss”. Freedom, to most people means being free to do as they please, all of the time. These are not exactly the true meanings of independence and freedom.

You see, both independence and freedom involve a degree of responsibility. Independence Day commemorates our country’s achieving independence and gaining freedom from English rule, but with that independence came the responsibility for the new government to care for its people.

Freedom came to the people of America at great cost, and it also carries the responsibility to be good citizens. Those responsibilities include obedience to the law, and support of our government leaders, among others.

The Bible speaks of freedom. It refers to freedom in the sense of the relationship of a free people to their leaders, as they submit to governmental and civil authority. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men…Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:13-16).

Then, there is the concept of the Christian’s being freed from the bondage of sin. This happens when a person trusts in Jesus Christ, who died to set people free from their sins. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

What then, are the responsibilities of one who has been set free from sin? James gives this advice: “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom” (James 2:12). Paul cautions his readers to “be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9).

“He (God) has sent me (Jesus) to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and… to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18).

Free in Him,
Pastor Jerry

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