As we look forward to the long weekend, hopefully we are reminded of the great freedoms that we have here in America as we celebrate our nation’s independence. Christians in America should doubly rejoice, not just because of our religious freedoms, but also because of our spiritual liberation from death in Christ. Jesus says in John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But yet, the sad reality is that many see Christianity not as freedom, but slavery because of all the rules that we have to obey.
The great deception is the belief that we are free when we can live however we want. You think about the abortion movement, the killing of a baby is advanced under the banner of “pro-choice.” Many are rejoicing because of the recent court ruling allowing same-sex marriage to be legal because people are now free to marry whoever they love. The world says true freedom is being able to live however we want to.
Now that might sound good, tolerant, even loving, but this worldview falls apart when our desires come in conflict with our wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others. Just as an example, no one likes traffic laws, and our initial reaction when we see a cop is, unfortuantely, usually negative. But would we really want to live in a society without any traffic rules? Without policemen? Enforceable laws? No, ideally, laws are made to protect our true freedoms by giving us fullness of life.
I’ve seen so many patients working with the homeless who in the name of choice and freedom are very much slaves to their own passions and desires. I have those who don’t have enough money even for food because they use every penny to get drugs. And of course their decisions don’t just impact themselves, but have consequences on the people in their lives. It is such a sad situation, particularly if there are children involved.
But the thing is, you and I really are not much better. The “drugs” we seek after and give ourselves over to just look different: money, fame, pleasure, or maybe security. Ultimately, our pursuit of anything apart from God enslaves every one of us because living apart from God results in death. Freedom is not getting to do what we desire to do, because the truth is that we have sinful desires sometimes. True freedom is knowing how God intended us to live and having the power to live that out. The great news of the gospel is that in Christ, because of His work on the cross and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, that becomes a reality.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Happy 4th of July week everyone. No post this coming Thursday because of our church retreat!