What does it mean to be free?

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “You have been set free”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.” John 8:36 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “What does it mean to be free?”
 
Americans are big on the concept of freedom. And rightly so. We are the freest people on earth living in the greatest nation on earth with the best and most effective political system on earth. Even our “Declaration of Independence”, which announced our intent to break-away from the tyrannical rule of England and to form our own nation, declares that we have the unalienable rights from our Creator to “life, liberty, and happiness.” Freedom is imbedded into our national DNA.
 
However, our freedom isn’t absolute. That would be anarchy. We’re actually a nation based upon the rule of law. There are limitations which provide structure for the expression of our freedoms, and which are then imposed upon individuals for the public good. For instance, there’s the famous decision from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes regarding the limitations of free speech. He ruled that the right to free speech does not extend to falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater when in fact there is no fire. That would be a dangerous use of free speech under false circumstances, and it could cause physical harm to many people. Likewise, it’s commonly understood that your right to swing your fist stops at the tip of my nose. You can swing your arm if you want to, but you cannot punch me in the nose. So, there are necessary limitations to many of our “freedoms”.
 
But as important and valuable as our Constitutional freedoms are as citizens of the USA, our freedoms as Christians, granted to us by Jesus Christ, are much more valuable – and even more misunderstood. If it’s true that as citizens of the USA we often misunderstand the nature and scope of our freedoms, it’s even truer of Christians living under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. There is misinformation and misunderstanding which results in Christians either not fully enjoying their freedom in Christ, or worse, abusing it. We do have freedom, but it is not absolute and it must be correctly applied.
 
There’s actually an interesting and intriguing connection between our freedom under the Constitution and our freedom under Christ. At Oak Hill Baptist Church we recently completed a Sunday evening Bible study series by Pastor Tony Evans called, “The Kingdom Agenda”. In it, Tony introduced a concept that I appreciate very much and which I fully agree with. It’s the notion of “maximum freedom and limited government”. The basic premise is that the more God’s kingdom principles are in place and lived-out by society, the less need there will be for government intrusion into our lives.
 
This is an important truth. Christian liberty, properly understood and correctly applied, has a direct impact on civil liberties. This is the ideal that we as God’s people must be working towards in our society – maximum freedom and limited government because the situation in society becomes such that big government isn’t needed or warranted.
 
I look forward to exploring this important topic with you.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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