Freedom cannot be taken for granted. Every form of substantial and lasting freedom has come on the sacrifices of others. We enjoy the freedoms we have in America because some believed freedom to be more important than their own life.
Here in America, we just celebrated our day of independence. We do not celebrate the imperfections of our nation, but the foundational freedom in which she is built.
When we gather to celebrate someone’s birthday, we don’t highlight all of their relationship failures, moral failures, or how many jobs they have lost, nor opportunities squandered, but we celebrate their life.
America still has growing to do and can grow because she is a free society. And the good news is, there is hope for America. America was built on the fundamental teachings of the 10 Commandments, and those truths ensure that our freedom will be enduring.
There will be no lasting freedom if we remove God from the equation.
One characteristic of every fallen nation and empire is the removal of God from within society. And by removing God from the equation of our lives, we are destroying the only foundation and means of genuine freedom.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.
“Christians are good at being forgiven but not so good at living free.” Pastor Shane Couch
If freedom is going to last, it must be maintained and managed. As a Christian, we live from a position of freedom. It is the essence of our faith in God.
In Galatians 5:13-16, we gain insight on how to manage freedom in our lives and the purpose of it. Mismanaged freedom binds us, making us slaves to the very practices that we have been set free from in the first place.
In the letter to the Galatians, there were some individuals who snuck their way into the church and began to teach that faith in Jesus Christ still requires men and women to obey and observe the Old Testament laws.
The Old Testament law was always a temporary structure that served a couple of essential purposes. Let’s look at three of those.
#1 A forerunner of Jesus.
The law paved the way for Jesus to be recognized by us when He arrived. Just as John the Baptist shouted, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus is identified as our Passover lamb who delivered us from judgment.
Furthermore, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Only the Messiah could fulfill the entire law through His life, death, and resurrection by being the perfect sacrifice for mankind.
#2 Revealed our need for a Savior.
The law exposes our inability to be good. It is a constant reminder that even with our best efforts, we are sinful and cannot be perfect.
The law was never meant to save us but to expose our need of and point us towards salvation through God’s one and only Son.
#3 Initial means of knowing God.
The law is not bad, and for a time it was the framework given to humanity so we could know God.
Just as 1 Peter 1:16 calls us to be holy because God is holy, the observance of the law, pre-Jesus, made us ceremonially sanctified so we could draw near to God.
But in Jesus Christ, all those requirements have been fulfilled and by placing your faith in Jesus, you satisfy the requirements of the law.
Anything we add as a requirement to salvation is essentially voiding the need for Jesus’ sacrifice and becomes a second way to be made right with God.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
The second reason why we must manage freedom is to steer clear of licentious living. There is the danger that some may develop the mindset of “if God has set me free, I am forgiven and grace outbounds my sin, then can’t I do whatever I want to do because God has forgiven me?”
That’s called hedonism and is the reason why we need to be saved and transformed. Engaging in sin is a selfish activity that places my desires above my responsibilities and uses others to achieve my pleasures.
If I use my freedom to judge others or to indulge in my desires and pleasures, I am no longer free but reengage with a lifestyle that imprisons me. Our freedom is meant to make ourselves and others better. Anything short of that is the mismanagement of freedom.
(Stay tuned for my follow up post on the purpose of freedom and how utilizing our freedom can change the world!)