Freedom isn’t free. Everything costs someone something. Free samples at the grocery store costs the store something to entice you to try new products. Buy one get one free costs the store, and you still have to buy one, but it may attract you to shop there again. Free healthcare and free college is a loss both to the hospital and the college, as they still have to pay staff to provide a service. People rarely work for free.

Your salvation in Christ is also free. No money changes hands when you offer yourself to Jesus and are baptized. But you know that the transaction was paid for at the cross. Your salvation, free to you, was paid in blood.

Paul calls attention to another freedom in us. He says we have been called to be free. We are called by God to be free. But this freedom isn’t for indulging the whims if the flesh, but for serving one another. You were not made free to “do whatever you want”. That is an improper and selfish kind of freedom, and it usually leads to bondage. No, we have been called to be free, free from our sins and our ever present anxiety of death, to use our hands and help, our eyes and ears, our hearts and minds to help one another.

That may not sound much like American Freedom, but remember we threw off the tyranny of an English King in the hope that we could govern ourselves as individual citizens. Which means we would become educated on the issues and do right by our neighbor. We would elect sound men of good character to run the government. We would be faithful to interact in our communities. We would give our loyalty to our own country and be willing to die for her because we believe in her ideals. That is freedom.

As Christians we have the freedom to be educated in the Bible. To love and pray for our neighbors. We have the freedom to jump in and help when help is needed. We are called to be free. Let us use it, for we were not called to huddle in our churches.

God bless you on this Independence Day!


The Power of Liberty

What is it that keeps liberty pure? Because we have seen liberty go awry in many contexts. When liberty is used as a reason for wantonness, vice, even the freedom to commit evil acts, it is no liberty, but misery.

What keeps liberty pure and desirable is truth. It is the difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Without truth, liberty is an excuse for excess and selfish deeds. Truth brings to liberty our need to help our fellows, to realize that we are not alone, that we live in community with others. Liberty with truth demands a heed to the fact of our creation and special place as images of the Almighty God; that we are eternally responsible for our actions in this life.

Liberty that is sought and bought by this truth will truly set us free. We would not be set free again to bondage, especially to sin and vice, but to be truly free, free even from our fleshly desires. We would be free from the sin that so easily entangles us. That is truly freedom.

Would you seek freedom today? Seek truth. Desire it. Claim it. Pursue it. Let truth dwell in your richly. It is the Gospel. God bless you today.

Why go to Church just to obey a set a rules?


Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2Co 3:17)

Many feel that the Church is a system of rules, or that it is legalistic. Perhaps you’ve thought that mandating Church attendance is a legalistic pursuit. That we should be free to attend as often, or as little as we wish to. The operative word here is “me.” A me-centered faith doesn’t do a whole lot, and ends up being legalistic. The same statement might be applied, “I only need to go to church once a month to be a Christian.” Now who’s being legalistic?

The question again isn’t about what I must do to be saved? That’s well established. It’s, “what must I do to grow in Christ?” When asked that way, we realize the hill is a little steeper. How often should I go to Church in order to grow in Christ? How often should I read my Bible, pray, go to Bible study, witness to my neighbor, in order to grow in Christ? I know that if I don’t do any of those things, I will not grow.

We know that faith in Christ isn’t based a set of rules, but that we often resort to rules to make our conscience comfortable. Abolish the rules you have set in your own life and pursue Christ with abandon. Demonstrate to others that Christianity is the free-est form of living there is, because we have total freedom in Christ.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
(Php 4:8-9)

Free, Free at Last!

Hey, It’s Independence Day again. Another year, another birthday for our wonderful country. But when we look around us, we might wonder, freedom from what? In a land where our income is taxed, our property is taxed, our sales are taxed, and even our death is taxed, we might ask, “Where was the freedom promised to us on “Independence Day”? What are we free from? We can’t do anything that we want to. We live in a society that governs our behavior, from the kind of toothpaste we use in the morning (approved by the FDA) to the kinds of television we watch (approved by the FCC) to the roads we drive on (managed and patrolled by State Troopers). Almost everything we do has had a government hand in it at one time or another. But we have freedom at the expense of security, and security at the expense of freedom.

As Christians, we celebrate freedom of a different kind, the freedom from sin. You may not be aware of it, but if you have not made a confession of Christ, you are in slavery, to sin. What is sin? Sin is disobedience to God. You may say at this point, but I don’t sin, I haven’t killed anyone, or stolen anything big. I might remind you that God’s standard is far stricter than one or two major sins. James (2:10) tells us that any sin, from a white lie, to looking too long at a pretty woman, can convict us in God’s court. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” In God’s court there is only one sentence, life, in the worst prison ever devised, Hell. The Bible calls this the second death. It is eternal life in torment and suffering. Does that sound like freedom to you? It doesn’t to me either.

You see, true freedom doesn’t come from a bottle, a pill, a checkbook, or even a TV. It doesn’t come from being able to do whatever you want. It comes from doing what He wants. He wants you, all of you, to live with Him, for eternity, in paradise. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But this is no bait and switch tactic. The hours will be long, suffering will be part of the territory, and all the things you wanted to do before will have to be checked against a ever-loving yet just God. The freedom here is within you. You have the choice between slavery to sin and death, or servant hood to a loving, graceful Father. You might be asking, how do I sign up? It’s easy. Just tell Him you want to serve Him. The Bible says that if you are not willing to confess His name before men, so will He be unwilling to confess your name before His Father. (Matthew 10:32) It’s not tough. Be free, at last!