Valuing Freedom on Memorial Day

Image result for the silver trump of freedomThere are those who don’t understand what the big deal is. They think that the freedom we have in Christ is important, don’t get me wrong, but they act as if the freedom of living by the Spirit instead of living by the law is a great blessing of salvation and not an essential of salvation.

Paul writes… “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4)

To Paul it was a big deal. Why? Because of the greatness of Jesus. He would not abide anything that made Jesus smaller. As he said earlier in the same book, “If righteousness can be achieved through works of the law, then Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:21) The freedom of Christ is paramount. It is an essential of the gospel. Without it, we do not have the gospel as Paul preached it. In fact, he declared that we become the enemy of the gospel if we embrace the works of the law.

Interestingly enough, Christians did not just apply this principle to just “spiritual matters”. The abolitionist Frederick Douglass had similar thoughts in his day regarding how people treated their fellow man. In the light of the cross, he believed that the freedom of Jesus demanded a true response from those who claimed to follow Him. He said,

“I love the religion of our blessed Savior. I love that religion that comes from above, in the “wisdom of God, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. I love that religion that sends its votaries to bind up the wounds of him that has fallen among thieves. I love that religion that makes it the duty of its disciples to visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction. I love that religion that is based upon the glorious principle, of love to God and love to man; which makes its followers do unto others as they themselves would be done by. If you demand liberty to yourself, it says, grant it to your neighbors. If you claim a right to think for yourself, it says, allow your neighbors the same right. If you claim to act for yourself, it says, allow your neighbors the same right. It is because I love this religion’ that I hate the slave-holding, the woman-whipping, the mind-darkening, the soul-destroying religion that exists in the southern states of America. It is because I regard the one as good, and pure, and holy, that I cannot but regard the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. Loving the one I must hate the other; holding to the one I must reject the other.” (My Bondage and my freedom, 416)

For Frederick Douglass and the Apostle Paul the calling of Jesus was clear. Freedom was worth fighting for. A Christianity that undermined freedom was not Christianity. Do we act that way? Do we fight for our freedoms as Christians or do we make ourselves slaves all over again?

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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