5th July 2013

Freedom from…is Freedom to 

“So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind?
Romans 6:15 (MSG)

This week the USA celebrated their Independence Day on the 4th July. Later this month the French sing and dance on Bastille Day, the 14th July. Many nations have special days on which they remember notions of freedom and self-determination.

For the Christian every day is a celebration of our freedom in Christ. For those Christians who were Roman citizens, there were rights and privileges protected by Roman law. This is what Paul referred to when he said, in Acts 22:28, “I was free from the day of my birth”. In other words the Romans were not slaves themselves even though they enslaved others.

British philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote about “negative” and “positive” freedom. Negative freedom meant freedom from the interference of others. Nations have fought wars to gain negative freedom. Slaves did not possess that freedom. Romans, however, did have it to some extent if you ignored state interference. Rejoice, Paul told them, because you are “free from sin”. In other words their lives no longer had to be interrupted by sin. The tyranny of sin was over. They had negative freedom.

Positive freedom has been described as freedom to self-determine. Does this mean that everyone can do as he or she wishes? Berlin, in his essay Two Concepts of Liberty, commented, “the liberty of some must depend on the restraint of others”. He knew that true liberty does not involve casting off self-control. The Romans were free from oppression. They also had to behave responsibly as free citizens. In the same way Christians have been freed in Christ, whose commands had set them free “to live openly in his freedom!” (Romans 6:18) In this freedom we care one for another.

Nelson Mandela told the South Africans that with their “freedom comes responsibilities”. The same is and was true of the US and of France, and of all nations who celebrate their times of liberty.

It is also true of us. We Christians, who are free in Christ from the slavery of sin, are now free to let Jesus live his unrestricted love for others in and through us.

Righteous Redeemer, thank you that you have freed us from sin, and given us the freedom to live a new life of love and celebration in you.
In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson


openbibleAbout the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  This weekend James is speaking at our Northampton church.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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