Happy Birthday America! Today we celebrate the freedom given to us by God, our founders and the brave men and women who fought and died to ensure freedom for all Americans.
It seems that nothing is more American or more attractive to people in general than the concept of freedom. TV Commercial try to sell us their goods with the promise that it will make us free, Countries celebrate their independence with robust songs and ceremonies of freedom. Christian writer Roger Olsen states, “Politicians, businesspeople, advertisers, salesmen, military leaders and recruiters—all know how to use “freedom” to attract attention and draw interest. Few words are so common while carrying so much weight.” Freedom is a universal desire placed in us by God Himself. And yet, there seems to be a disconnect from the concept of Biblical freedom and the freedom that is so often pursued in our culture.
As paradoxical as it may sound true freedom actually comes with restrictions. True freedom is the balance of my independence and the understanding of my responsibility to the purpose for which I was created. I am constrained to freely do what God intended me to do in this world. It is best illustrated by a train which is free only so long as it stays on its tracks; a train that jumps the tracks is “free” of the rails but no longer free in the most important sense of the word. It’s a freed wreck that leads to disaster. It is “Free,” but no longer free indeed. The rails simultaneously restrain and set the train free.
When we misunderstand freedom and abandon the “rails” upon we have been founded, We risk losing the very freedom we love so much. Ultimately unchained freedom leads to bondage.
In order to be free we need rails of restraint firmly laid in our lives. Individual responsibility is a rail upon which freedom rides. When we take responsibility for our families, our survival, or success and our failure we are closer to experiencing freedom. When we expect and demand others or a government to meet our needs or find reason to blame someone else for our problems, we relinquish the freedom we ultimately seek.
Self-Restraint is a rail upon which freedom rides. Freedom is not life without laws or limits. That is a train wreck. Until we find the grace demanded to restrain ourselves there will never be enough laws or law enforcement officers to keep us in line. The debates over gun control, drugs and sexual crimes would be solved in a moment if men and women were able by God’s grace to control their own appetites. Lives committed to “free indulgence” of everything they desire demand a society where freedom is limited by law and government. The Apostle Paul says in I Cor 10:23-24 23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. By grace he gladly enchained his own freedom for the glory of God and the benefit of others.
Transcendent truth is a rail of freedom. In our modern attempts at liberation, we have systematically removed absolute morality and we wonder why we cannot control our society. In a world that says there is no absolute right and wrong we mustn’t wonder why freedom disappears. Where there is no God, No transcendent truth the heavy hand of government must rule. Communist regime’s both past and present have illustrated this well.
Christ and His Gospel are the answer to freedom crisis in our world. When he reigns in a life that life will find power to reign itself. A Christian embrace of freedom is the blessing of any society. By the grace of God in Christ a life is simultaneously set free and restrained by grace. This is the only hope for true freedom. Jesus said, “He who the son sets free is free indeed! John 8:36.
In his treatise On Christian Liberty the Reformer Martin Luther summed this up well: “A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.”