I preached on the concept of Christian freedom a couple Sundays ago, but on this day when we commemorate the independence of our nation, I want to briefly take up the topic again. Freedom is a loaded word in American culture. The nation itself was founded on the idea of people having the fundamental right to be free of tyrannical governments. The founders believed that people should be free to govern themselves for the most part. One can debate how far we as a nation have deviated from that ideal, yet the concept of "freedom" still permeates our culture.
Sadly, freedom often comes to mean something else, or perhaps it has always been misunderstood in this way. For many, freedom means being "free" to do whatever one wants. In this way of thinking, God's law is seen only as constraining. God Himself is understood as a cosmic killjoy, a tyrant who just wants to ruin our fun. To be free is to be unconstrained by God's law. This is a false freedom. In fact, such a mindset is an enslavement to one's own desires.
True freedom comes from Christ. Christ frees us from the eternal penalty of being lawbreakers. He frees us from death and hell. He frees us to worship Him alone and serve our neighbor because we no longer are bound by our own fleshly desires. Through His death on the cross Christ has freed us from the bonds of sin. In Romans 6, St. Paul tells us, "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” Thanks be to God!