My newest article for In Touch Magazine, on the nature of true freedom, is up today. Read the full article here.
If you’re going to serve somebody, make it the One who will set you free.
From the earliest pages of the Bible, we see a major theme developing: freedom. The God of the Exodus is a God who frees the slaves. Paul reminds us that liberation is the goal of our salvation, saying, “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1). And John tells us that our emancipation is real, for “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). We might go further and say that God’s message to us, in the gospels, is one of radical freedom. We could understand it as a sort of prison break—because Jesus is out to rescue us from bondage to oppression, sin, and death.
In the United States, where I live, freedom is one of our nation’s core values. But when we say the word, often we mean by it something like: Getting to do what I want to do, which can include things that are selfish, or not good—not righteous. It’s worth asking: How does our American definition of freedom match up with God’s definition? Let’s take a look.
FREEDOM FROM AND FOR
True freedom is not only from the bad things, but also for the good things. Yes, God liberated the Israelites from the oppressive power of Egypt, but He also delivered them to Himself. His people were bound in a covenant relationship of life-giving love. Indeed, it was this very union with God—under His protection, provision, and embrace—that guarded Israel from being enslaved again under the surrounding hostile powers.
In other words, being bound to God brings liberty. We tend to think of freedom as pure independence, a license to do whatever we want. But the gospel envisions true freedom as interdependence, joined in communion with the presence of God. He is the One we are made for. As Paul puts it, “Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV). True emancipation is found in God.
[Read the rest of the article here]