Freedom

Kevin Ibanez

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

We just finished celebrating the 238th birthday of our nation.  As Americans, we value freedom above everything else.  Our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee all of us who are American citizens certain inalienable rights.  Nevertheless, these freedoms that we possess are not completely free. 

With the freedoms that we enjoy, come certain responsibilities and obligations that we must fulfill in order to maintain our freedom.  As citizens of this great country, all young men, ages 18-25 who are citizens, are expected to register with the Selective Service.  All Americans are expected to report their income to the IRS and their States to be accountable for the taxes that they owe to the government, or to be eligible to receive the refunds that are owed to them.  And, we are expected to follow the laws of our local, state and federal governments.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we, too, have been granted certain freedoms.  We have freedom from the power of Satan, sin, our carnal, fleshly desires, and spiritual death or Hell.  We have freedom to live forever with God in Heaven when we pass away someday.  We get to enjoy the freedom that comes with having a relationship with God, our Creator and a friendship with Him all the days that He gives us life while on this earth.  We are free from the yoke of religion and legalistic practices that put an insurmountable standard on people to try to do enough to curry God’s favor and avoid God’s wrath.  We have the freedom to walk in the Grace that only God can grant us that came through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through Whom we have been freely given the gift of a new and eternal life with God.

But, with this Godly freedom, there, too, are certain responsibilities.  These responsibilities are not a yoke of rules or regulations that are meant only to keep us in line and put a damper on our lives.  They are rules for righteous living and Christ-honoring lives that help us to deepen in our walk with God and demonstrate our love for Christ.  For those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ and received him as our Lord and Savior, then we get to become more like Jesus by following His example and living like Him.  We get to tell others about the free gift of eternal life that they may have if they put their faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  We get to demonstrate our love for God by loving people by tangibly meeting the needs and touching the wounds of those we encounter on a day-to-day basis.  We get to show God’s love by our words, actions and in our generous giving.  We get to do all of this in a community with other believers, the church, and we get to do this through and by the power of God himself, by the Holy Spirit who indwells and empowers every believer.

My encouragement to you is to remember that the freedom we have received is not a selfish freedom, but a freedom intended to be a blessing to God and to others.  So, go ahead and enjoy the freedom you have in Christ, but do it in a way that honors God and draws others to Christ as well.

 

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