What does enforcement of face coverings, protest, and Independence Day have in common? I’ll tell you. The concept of freedom. We want to be free to go in public without a mask, free to protest whatever we believe in without consequences, and free as Americans because of the victory in the American revolution.
But do you know what the ultimate freedom is? The gift of grace through Jesus so that we can live in obedience to God.
While those who have yet to believe in Jesus and, frankly a lot of Christians themselves, think that all the “rules” of religion are burdensome and binding, obedience to the one true God is true freedom. People who live according to Christian convictions can live life to the fullest not because we live in absence of discipline. We are actually more free when we submit ourselves to God’s plan.
Discipline is freedom.
While they sound contradictory, discipline and freedom actually go hand in hand. We are free financially because we train ourselves to save. We are free physically to have leaner bodies that move well because we are disciplined to exercise and eat well. We are free to do more in a day because we force ourselves to wake up earlier. We are free from sin and death because we choose to obey God.
For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.
1 Peter 2:16
As Christians, we understand that because we have accepted the atoning sacrifice Jesus made on the cross we are now not our own. Jesus of Nazareth payed for every wrongdoing and ultimately our lives. Therefore, we are not our own as stated in 1 Corinthians 6:20. We are obligated as God’s slaves whom he bought to honor him with our bodies and actions.
Yet, we are also fully free in Jesus. Jesus said in John 8:36, “so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We have been liberated from the chains that have so often held us back in our lives. We’re no longer limited by our pasts or shortcomings. We serve a limitless God! This limitless God had every right to abandon us or put us under harsh conditions in our slavery. But he did not do this. Instead, he set us free.
Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.
1 Peter 2:17
There are some stipulations to our freedom. In our freedom, we are obligated to respect, love, and fear. These aren’t meant to be overwhelming tasks. Jesus claims that those who are slaves to God will only be carrying a light burden (Matthew 11:28-30). We have been freed to live as we were originally designed to live. We have been freed from ourselves and all the selfish ambition that comes with that. We have been freed to submit to God by loving each other.
The Christian life isn’t meant to be a bunch of overwhelming rules and regulations. Rather, it was designed to give us the freedom to love and respect God and and our fellow human beings. Jesus didn’t pay for our sins so that we may do whatever we want. Instead, he payed for our lives so that we can live in a kind of freedom that pushes us to be respectful and loving. We are free in a disciplined kind if way. It is a godly, holy freedom that goes so far beyond ourselves. It is true freedom.