A Desire for Freedom
It has been an eventful week for men and women around the globe. News stories from virtually every region of the world have been trending at some point or another. Perhaps the biggest has been the surprise outcome of the Brexit vote in which the United Kingdom voted to remove itself from the European Union. In the United States it was the Supreme Court’s decision regarding a Texas law to add a level of safety to abortion clinics that captured attention. While India’s own supreme court has refused to hear a case about homosexuality laws, in my part of the world concern reigns over the Olympics in Rio in the midst of an ongoing political crisis from the presidential position. Most would say they are events of little relationship sharing very little in common, yet an examination of them tells us they are related in more ways than one would expect.
As these events pass into memories, they have now all become part of world history. Only time will tell the extent of their true impact and legacy, but for now they are at least part of the record books of what took place over the course of time.
We must also not forget that each was allowed by God. As a sovereign Lord who orchestrates all things for a greater purpose, we must not doubt His role in them. They create an opportunity for us to trust in Him more as we wait to see how they will ultimately be employed in God’s grand plan for His glory and our good. In this too the events of this week share a common bond.
There is something telling in the circumstances which surround us on a daily basis. Each circumstance reveals that society has a deep desire for freedom. Voters in the United Kingdom would tell you they want freedom from the oversight of European Union. Abortionists in Texas indicate they want freedom from the burdensome laws. And the list goes on, so whether in India or Canada, the people are crying out for their own freedom.
The Irony of Freedom
Discussion will reveal it is not about ‘freedom’ in the truest sense of the word as much as it is about independence from governing authority. The desire is for the people to rule themselves, thus it is not about freedom as much as it is about allowing self-governance (which interestingly leads to the avoidance of conviction as well). In a cry for independence there is a sense of paradox here that is lost on the secular world.
In noting the irony of the situation, most assume that I am talking of the fact that this call for freedom has the propensity to deny someone else (i.e. Christians) the same freedoms being demanded by unbelievers. While that is certainly a noteworthy aspect that garners little attention by those who are not believers themselves, this is not what I am referring to at all.
Self-governance is still reliant upon something outside of one’s self for governance. That is to say, independence is still bound to something because every person is bound to something. In this instance, it would be two somethings.
First, God is always in control. This is not a new point and I mentioned it earlier in this post. While it may appear that people are governing themselves, they forget that God is still the ultimate authority and by Him all things are controlled. So events and circumstances that take place in one’s life were ultimately allowed to occur by God.
Secondly, independence is still bound by sin. Those who proclaim to be free from all governing bodies are still slaves to sin which governs them. The pull of sin is strong and not only will a person not be able to avoid it, but he or she will make an active decision for it. Thus, sin reigns not self.
The Legitimacy of Freedom
The Lord Jesus Christ tells His people that He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17-20). In the realm of freedom this is a major aspect of life. In light of Christ’s own actions (i.e. His death, burial, and resurrection) His statement early on in Matthew carries a grand significance.
Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law, something that no man was able to do. By His own work and by our trust in that work, we have found true freedom. What is that true freedom? That we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18).
That strikes a cord with many doesn’t it? We are set free from the slavery of one thing only to be made a slave of something else. First off, that something else is righteousness. A word almost beyond description and compare that requires a whole separate discussion for us. At the very least though, we should say that righteousness is of the highest virtue and to be bound to it in slavery is not something to look down upon, but to be thankful for.
There is something else worth considering here though, and it comes in our definition of freedom. Freedom does not have to mean independence from all governance. But it can mean free from the restrictions and confines of sin.
The result of not being bound by sin? Obedience. Thus true freedom is to be set free from our status as slaves to sin and instead we have been given the freedom to obey.
As the world calls on leaders to set them free, what people will find is that they are simply subject to something else. It is not until they recognize that true freedom comes in the form of slavery to Christ that they will find what it is they search for. We must pray, we must teach, we must exemplify the peace, love, joy, and freedom that comes from being subjected to Christ’s authority.
Truth Reformation is a review of noteworthy news from the past week from a Christrian worldview. It is an opportunity to look at the changing world in light of the unchanging Word.