Freedom

Each year, we are reminded of the freedoms we have in this great country due to the sacrifices made by others. We celebrate these freedoms on July 4th, accompanied by fireworks, festivals and gatherings of family and friends. Those who gave their all for this privilege did not do so in payment to us, as a matter of debt, but did so in service to the Constitution of these United States in order to maintain our right to live free.

Many references can be found in the New Testament about freedom in reference to salvation; freed from sin (Romans 6:7), from death (8:2) and even from ourselves (7:24). The idea that God’s grace is extended freely is a Divine fact. We, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24), should come to “know the things that were freely given to us of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). What a privilege we have in salvation. However, there is a great misconception in understanding this freedom: “free” means we do not earn it, not that there is no cost (cf. Acts 20:28). Freedom always costs, often dearly.

It cost God, the Father, His Son. Who would give their own son? “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). So, it cost Jesus His life, for “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-7). It costs a Christian… everything! “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Paul understood this free grace by stating: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’” (Luke 17:10) and remember, enjoy and appreciate “freedom that we have in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 2:4).

Jeff Sweeten