I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.
Psalm 119:45 (NLT)
This time of year, here in the United States of America we celebrate our freedom with the fourth day of July. Independence Day it’s called. This is a worthy celebration, especially when you embrace the fact that this nation was established with the objective to establish a place where freedoms were afforded to the individual over will of the government. Primary among those freedoms was the freedom to worship God in the manner and setting of your choosing. This ‘right’ was so exalted that the founders referred to this right as being ‘God Given’ and something that was not able to be altered by any man or governmental body.
This very ‘right’ has and continues to be threatened by forces of evil (yes, I said ‘forces of evil’) who would twist the founders word from ‘Freedom of Religion’ to ‘Freedom from Religion’. This is far from what the founders intentioned but is the current terminology being adapted to our Bill of Rights. The word swap is subtle but the the implication of the alteration is profound.
Freedom of Religion – demands that everyone is able to practice their faith without restriction or impairment from the state or any other group that would suppress this right.
Freedom from Religion – Rejects God and faith from public view. To the extreme it rejects the practice entirely of worship by the individual.
Can’t happen in America? It already has in many settings. The forbidding of prayer in schools. The acknowledgment of God as the moral authority in our civic settings most noted by the removal of the 10 Commandments from municipal settings and the prohibition of the manger crush.
But the enemy would say that these are offensive to those who do not share the same faith foundation as those who consider the Bible to be the very words of God. Their logical conclusion is these symbols of faith need to be cleared from public view both on public and private land.
While I will always, as long as this country acknowledges the Freedom OF Religion, continue to celebrate the Fourth of July as ‘Independence Day’. If, and when, these evil elements prevail and we are forced to worship in solitude or risk the harsh punishment or imprisonment by the state.
But that’s not what this ‘freedom’ is about. Regardless of what the governing bodies choose to dictate to their population, this freedom God speaks of, is a freedom that no man can infringe upon.
It is. The freedom ‘from’ sin. The liberty to Love as God loves. The independence from death.
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.”
Luke 12:32 (NLT)
Our true freedom is not given to us by any governing body established by man. Our freedom is beyond the bounds of manmade rules and rulers. Indeed, our independents was won by a human struggle and physical battles that resulted when those hundreds of years ago fought to be free from the rule of England. In that struggle and many that have ensued since It is my belief that God has been instrumental in moving his hand in the events of men to aid them in establishing a nation that was free to honor Him. I will not diminish those events nor those patriots that fought and died to established this nation, nor those who have continued to fight to preserve its sovereignty. But our independence is not our ‘true freedom’.
True freedom is given by God. While independence established a land where we can practice our faith, it is our faith and furthermore our Savior who gives us freedom.
This freedom is not contingent on the rules of men. This freedom is purely based upon our freedom from sin and death, won through blood shed on a cross and not on a battlefield. It was for ‘this freedom’ that God stood in the gap and was instrumental in forging a land where people could worship and glorify God unimpeded. This freedom is free to all who calls on Jesus Christ for his Mercy and Grace to rescue them from eternal separation from God and to be purged of their guilt and sin.
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”
John 12:27-28 (NLT)
Jesus gives this freedom to those who believe on him. From the moment on the cross when he gave up his spirit and days later when He arose triumphant from sin and death he established a freedom available to all that Glorifies God the Father.
Freeing us from sin. Freeing us from the just consequence of our sin. Freeing us to glorify God in our lives regardless of what authorities says or done. Just as our freedom comes from God likewise our independence was granted by God’s hand on our nation. Therefore, Christians should take stock of their freedoms for both our ‘true freedom’ and the independence we celebrate on July 4th each year (in the USA) are gifts of God. As a result, to God should thanks and glory be given, for these freedoms come from God and to God should our praise be.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
1 John 2:15-16 (NLT)
We of course pray constantly for our government, for all the governments of mankind that they may also honor God and follow God’s direction in the laws they establish. But that isn’t always the case because mankind without Jesus is corrupt and evil.
There may be a day when the laws of the United States of America are altered and deny people the ‘freedom of religion’. We talked earlier here about those who would twist the words in the Bill of Rights. Those elements have been pushed back for a time, but they are never going to be defeated completely till Jesus returns for us and establishes a new Heaven and Earth. If that day comes here in the USA, remember that man can’t take the freedom from us that God has blessed us with through His Son Jesus Christ.
We are and forever more Free in Christ!