For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.
(Galatians 5:13 ESV)
Friday, Fourth Week after Pentecost
Father in heaven, the light of Jesus has scattered the darkness of hatred and sin. Called to that light we ask for your guidance. Form our lives in your truth, our hearts in your love, and enable us to walk in the paths of true freedom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
As we approach the 4th of July celebration which marks our country’s official declaration of independence from England, traditionally this celebration has been a symbol of freedom. America is the land of the free, the home of the brave, etc. As we broke away from England’s tyranny, people had a deep desire for a new way to live, to live in a free country where liberty was expressed: Freedom of speech; freedom to practice one’s religion apart from government restrictions; freedom from oppression.
Today freedom is commonly thought of as “I am free to do whatever I want.” We want to be unshackled from rules, restrictions, and authorities of all types. American independence has become a license where anything and everything goes.
Unfortunately, this is a far cry from true freedom, especially the freedom that is described in the Bible. God’s word reveals that the whole world is a slave to sin and its tendencies. Doing what one wants to do leads the Jeffrey Epstein’s in the world to sexually exploit young girls, it leads the Chad Daybell’s and Lori Vallow’s to think it OK to end the lives of their children, it leads the rioters in Seattle to set up an autonomous zone free from police jurisdiction. These are not acts of freedom, they are expressions of evil tendencies that are allowed to go unchecked. And they do great damage to people, to society, and to those who stand in their way.
God has come to set us free from sin, from death, and from every power of evil through his Son, Jesus. What does that look like? Freedom from sin is a freedom that enables us to live as God originally designed us to live; to live as good, godly, beautiful, creative, noble, and virtuous people. Paul counsels the early Christians in Galatia who found that kind of freedom in Christ, and said, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” In other words, don’t freely go back under the tyranny of evil, but use the freedom you have been given to love others.
Freedom is not the ability to “do what I want.” True freedom is the liberty to love and live a godly and decent life. Where true freedom reigns, God blesses and nations thrive.
In the mercy of Christ,
Pastor Langdon Reinke
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