Good morning and a most blessed Thursday to you.
As a nation, a few days ago we celebrated Independence Day. We celebrated the freedom, joy, and the love that we have as people living in a free nation..
Today in our time of devotion together we are going to look at God's Word to see what he tells us, and speaks to us about freedom.
In Galatians 5:13-14 Paul writes this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become enslaved to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Paul is speaking here about freedom. As Americans, freedom is something that we value very highly. It is good to have freedom. It is good to live in a nation where we have freedom. But what Paul is writing about here, and what is even more important, is the freedom that we have from no longer being bound under the burden of the law. In Christ we have freedom from the penalty of our sin. Yes, it’s true that we all will one day die as the wages of our sin. But we are free from eternal damnation, which is the real punishment for sin… for living outside of God's holiness. And so the freedom that Paul writes about here is the freedom we have as brothers and sisters, as children of God. This is the freedom that comes through the sacrifice which Christ made, as the second person of the Trinity, upon the cross for you and me. He bound himself to our sin, and he rose victorious over that sin; which gives us every gain of freedom …more than we could ever imagine!
It is so much fun to celebrate on July 4th here in the United States of America. It’s so much fun to have special celebrations with family and friends, and watch fireworks and have cookouts. It's wonderful to live in a nation that has certain freedoms with it. But for those who are not living in nations where there are freedoms and rights, those people are still free when they are in Christ. Our brothers and sisters in remote lands, where they have no day-to-day freedom, can still be free because they are in Christ. When we are in Christ, we are free to live and to love one another with the same mercy, grace, forgiveness and love we have received through Christ.
Paul writes that our freedom is not to be used for self-indulgence. Certainly, we are free to live into the life that God has called us into. But really the joy of our freedom is to serve one another through the love of Christ; so that others may come to know that same freedom that we have. It doesn't matter what's happening in the world around us in regards to how free we are or are not, because in Christ we have been eternally set free from sin, death, and the devil. And that is a freedom that we can sing and rejoice about! So let's go about the rest of our week celebrating the true freedom that we have in Christ alone.
Let us turn to him in prayer. Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for calling us to be a free people in your son Jesus Christ. We ask that those brothers and sisters around the world who do not live in free nations would still be strengthened in the freedom that they have as your children. Lord use us, and use all Christians around the world to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. May even those who live under an oppressive rule still know the true freedom that comes with being a child of God. Lord, we ask that you would protect us the rest of this week, and call us to worship you again this Sunday, gathered in your holy and precious name we pray.
I look forward to worshiping with you in just a few days. Until then… Let Freedom Ring!