Monday, July 4, 2016
Happy 4th of July. We live in the greatest country in the world. The freedom's that we have are not available in some parts of the world. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Freedom to disagree. Freedom to pursue your interests. Our country does have many problems and issues. Too many to discuss here. Even with all that, there is no where else that I would want to live at.
On this Independence Day, I wanted to talk about another type of freedom. This is a freedom found in a personal relationship with Jesus. We are all born into bondage, caused by sin that traces itself all the way back to Adam. We were intended to be in a relationship with God. Spending time in his presence. That was broken when sin entered the world. And thus, began a journey that is chronicled in the Bible, that culminated with Christ dying on the cross for our sins, setting us free and opening up that personal relationship again.
In the Book of John, Chapter 8, verse 32, Jesus says to the Jews with him, "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." What did he mean by that. We learn that Jesus is the truth. So, if you know Jesus, your will be free. Continuing on in verse 33 "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say we shall be set free?" verse 34-36 "Jesus replied. Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed"
Jesus did not sin his whole life, and was not a slave to sin. He is God's son and belongs to God forever. Be believing in the Son, you will be free. Belief in Jesus will give you a freedom that you cannot find anywhere else.
We are all a slave to something. For some it is an addictive lifestyle. For others, it is money and the pursuit of riches. Now living in true freedom still has boundaries. What do I mean? Look at our country. We have many freedoms, but not everything is OK to do. We have laws in place. A governmental system over us. We have liberty-but it needs to be kept in check. The Apostle Paul knew what it meant to be a slave.
Read this passage in Romans 6: 22-23. "But now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Slaves of God? I thought Jesus said if you know the truth, the truth shall set you free? I think Paul had a good insight. He knew that we were all slaves to something. We are all born into sin and were a slave to that. We all have something that we believe in. In Paul's day, there were people who worshiped idols of wood and clay. Some did not believe in God at all. Others, a God of their own making. The same is true today. If we are all a slave of something, Paul became a slave of God, though faith in Christ Jesus.
This freedom in Christ, sets is free from sin. Makes us a joint heir in the Kingdom of God. We become transformed in a new life, that marks an intentional path to holiness. Not that we reach that in our lifetime, but that we are on a journey towards that destination.
We have been given a free gift from God, by grace--by beveling in Jesus as the son of God and our Savior, we have eternal life. We have a restored relationship, as it was in the beginning--only this time, there will be no sin to tarnish it. There will be an everlasting relationship, walking with God and with other believers.
This is a freedom that was bought with a price--the blood of Jesus. All freedom has a price. Today, we celebrate our Independence as a free country. Those men who signed the Declaration of Independence, they knew they were committing high treason. They knew England would not take this lying down. There would be a price to pay. There would be blood shed. Our freedom has come under fire, and been protected ever since by the blood of sacrifice. Those who gave their life in defense of our freedoms.
God loves you. He died for you. He loves us to much that he gave his Son, that we might have a real relationship with him. True Freedom--forever. That is something to be thankful for. God seeks a relationship with him, not religion.
So from our family here, Happy Independence Day. Enjoy this country and all the freedoms we have. And thank God that he has made a way to be truly free.