[John 8:32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
[Galatians 5:1] It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
These two verses come close to my heart especially as I’m here at Pilgrim church. As you know, Pilgrim fathers in this country were those who left their homeland back in England in search of freedom. As puritans, they were persecuted for their faith from the state church of England, so they made a dangerous and difficult journey in search of freedom, especially freedom of their faith.
Strangely though, nowadays, when we hear about freedom in this country, it’s not the freedom of faith people are thirsting in this land. But what kind of freedom are they seeking? Freedom to choose my own gender. Freedom to kill innocent babies in the womb and freedom to do whatever my flesh desires. Basically, they seek freedom to sin.
But the freedom Jesus gave us through His truth, and for that matter, through His very life, this freedom was freedom given to us for what? It was given us so that we no longer be slaves to sin and freedom given us so that we can freely love God.
During the early days of America as a nation, the people of this country made laws to ensure freedom be used for its truly intended purpose. That is, to worship God and glorify God through living their faith out freely. To find the evidence of that, we just need to look at the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. What does the law say there? Freedom of religion, in another word, freedom of faith.
How many countries are there to this day where you can’t worship God and get together to worship Jesus? And how many places are there to this day where you can’t hang up a cross, read or sell Bible, and get imprisoned, or even murdered for believing in Jesus?
But this nation began by protecting and ensuring people their freedom to worship, by giving freedom of faith more than 200 years ago. That’s what happened when pilgrim fathers crossed over the vast Atlantic ocean and landed here, and that’s what happened when the people of this land made their government and law for this nation.
But truly sad things are happening in this country today. The nation that once cherished its freedom to worship and love God, now we see growing cold from that love and turning away. Look around and you see many churches are closing their doors and getting sold everywhere. What happened to their zeal and burning passion they once had for the Lord and for faith? The temperature is cooling down and people’s hearts are turning away from God more and more.
And what’s more shocking is how many people in this country are hijacking even the very core founding principles of this nation to twist it for their own means and gains.
For example, let’s go back to this principle of freedom again. What do people mean by freedom nowadays? Do they mean freedom as Pilgrim fathers and Founding fathers of this nation meant freedom? Is it the same freedom Paul and Jesus is talking about in the Bible when they say freedom?
Sadly, that’s not true. Although freedom given us by Christ was freedom given us for drawing closer to God, that’s not what people mean when they say freedom these days.
Rather, when people talk of freedom, they mean freedom for going away and distancing themselves away from God, not closer to God. Freedom means something for them to break their relationship with God not that to build their relationship closer to God. And that’s how we see many stealing away the true meaning of freedom and distorting it away from its original intended purpose.
So called liberals, there are many in that group who tend to associate freedom as anti-faith, anti-belief. I mean, even the word itself, ‘liberal.’ When you think of it, the word liberal is connected to liberty. Freedom. But how have they twisted the word? Liberal is getting associated more with things that are apart from God.
So we as Christians, we have a responsibility to restore and recover these distortions back to its original meaning and purpose.
We read two Bible verses today, and the scripture tells us plainly and very clearly. God is the one who gave us freedom. The Lord Jesus gave us the truth and the truth has set us free. Why then did He set us free?
He gave us freedom so that we can love God. Through freedom, we now can love God more and form a deeper relationship with our Creator. True love only happens with true freedom. Even Disney knows that. Has ever a princess loved a prince because she was forced to?
So also the Almighty God. He does not force us to love Him. When it comes to love, our almighty God, He is not almighty anymore. Rather, He is powerless. Why? Because love is only possible through freedom. So that’s why He gave us freedom, so that we, with our freedom, can choose to love Him freely from our heart.
And that’s what the Apostle Paul did. With his new found freedom in Christ, what did he do? He chose to know and love God.
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
What is he saying? He is saying just as the Lord knows me, I want to live to know the Lord as well. Just as the Lord knows me fully, I want to live to know Him fully. Knowing is loving and loving is knowing. With the infinite freedom given him by grace, the Apostle chose to live knowing and loving the Lord fully.
So I pray that we too can live our lives this way. You are now free. And you are truly free through Jesus Christ. Now what will you do with your freedom? Let us use our freedom to know the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and use our freedom to love Him, obey Him and follow Him freely all the way to the end. Let’s pray.