Friday, April 5, 2013

Let Freedom Ring!

" Now the Lord is the Spirit, 
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is freedom."

We are hearing so much about "freedom" these days, along with "choice", "rights", and "liberty". And, no wonder...this country called "The United States of America" was founded on  those ideals. The well-known, well-worn words of the July 4th,1776 Declaration of Independence gives this testimony: 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."   

(You may wish to read it in it's entirety, here.)

I've been wondering how God views freedom...

What does He have to say about it? 

A LOT!!!!!!!

The very first verse that comes to my mind is Galatians 5:13: 
"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (NAS)

The NIV states it this way: "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."

This verse is so all-inclusive, I could just stop typing right there, and it would be enough to live by. But, while looking that one up, I saw so many more....

1 Corinthians 8:9 "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak."

1 Peter 2:16 "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God."

Let's ask the question: Freedom from what? 
Romans 6:20-23 has some answers: 
"For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

1 Corinthians 7:22 "For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord's freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ's slave."

Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

2 Peter 2:19 "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."

Answer: We may choose to be free from sin!

Another question: Freedom to do what? 

Romans 15:1-3: "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and notjust please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself;"

Philippians 2:3-8: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Galatians 5:14 "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” "

Philippians 2:5 "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
1 Corinthians 9:19 "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible."

Answer: We are free to serve one another in love.
Yep, we are right back to Galatians 5! 

Perhaps, you are disappointed that I did not enter into a current events debate, to help you resolve in your own mind what is the "right" position on the issues at hand...

Let me leave you with these verses:

James 1:25  "But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it--not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it--they will be blessed in what they do."
John 8:32  "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

God has all the answers.