Freedom has different meanings for different people. For the teenager, freedom is represented by that first car. For the prisoner, freedom is the ability to come and go as he pleases. For the American, freedom means living life in any way he chooses. But even within those few examples there might be people who disagree with me, or people who would expand on what I have said. Depending on who you ask, freedom can mean a wide range of things.
As an American, one of my favorite holidays is July 4th. It is not only a good time to blow things up (legally!), but it also celebrates the founding of the greatest nation on earth (clearly that’s a biased opinion). One of the things that makes America great is the tremendous focus we put on individual liberty, although those liberties seem to be under attack lately. Where did we get such lofty ideals on freedom and liberty? Well, from the Bible of course!
Whether people want to admit it or not, America was founded on Biblical principles, and no revisionist history is going to change that. The majority of early Americans were highly religious people who feared and honored God. As such, they adopted the morality of the Bible which places extreme importance on individual freedom and liberty. For them, freedom didn’t come from a federal government that seems to want more and more power. It came directly from God Himself.
That last point is extremely important to understand. As Christians we must realize that our freedom does not come from a local, state, or national government. Governments were created by man to control populations. I am NOT saying that governments are evil and should be torn down. What I am saying is that governments are manmade, and therefore subject to human error. The literal job of the government is to control a large population of people, and they will use any method available to them including intimidation, manipulation, and force.
This is why we must understand that true freedom is only found IN CHRIST. If my freedom depends on the government or anyone else, then it is limited and subject to change at any time. However, when I realize that my freedom is found in Christ then I realize that I am truly free. Jesus himself said that “whoever the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36). That’s pretty easy to understand.
In Galatians 3:28, the Apostle Paul says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” What exactly does that mean? It simply means that we no longer find our identity in our nationality, our culture, our job status, our life status, or even our gender. Our identity is found in Christ alone. It DOES NOT mean that those things disappear and no longer exist, but rather that those things no longer define our lives.
For example, in the world we are often defined by our career, our house, our car, our gender, or our race. Paul is saying that once we are in Christ we are set free from those things. Our identifying feature is Jesus Christ himself, and the life and freedom that we now have through him. Followers of Jesus Christ no longer have a status in the world. Our status is defined by the One who loves us and laid down his life for us.
Can’t you see how that view changes everything? Instead of simply being another person in a long line of people who have lived on this earth, you are now a son or daughter of God! I am not defined by my nationality or culture, but rather my citizenship is now in heaven and my identifying feature is the stamp of Jesus Christ on my life. And if Jesus Christ has set me free then I am truly free, no matter what the government or anyone else tries to dictate.