In his first letter the Apostle Peter wrote:
Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil;
live as God’s slaves. (1 Peter 2:16)
In his second letter he wrote:
They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—
for “people are slaves to whateverhas mastered them.” (2 Peter 2:19)
What does Peter see in freedom that many people miss today? Freedom does not begin with legal rights to do whatever we want. Rather, freedom begins with understanding our true nature and the inclination we all have to do evil (Genesis 8:21). Research has shown that given the “freedom” to face no consequence, people eventually will do the morally wrong things.
In his sixth novel, The Fault in Our Stars, author John Greene used the city of Amsterdam to provide this insight on the nature of mankind:
"Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin."
The American story resonates with the enduring pursuit of freedom. If we pursue freedom, however, ignorant of our own limitations, we will suffer. If we seek a freedom without moral absolutes, we enter a subjective playground that endangers first the weak and defenseless,and then the undesired and unwanted.
The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
We make no greater strides for the cause of true freedom than the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It provides the antidote to our evil inclination. It provides contentment and peace of mind regardless of whether our station in life is one of prosperity or hardship, health or disability, fame or infamy.
We are blessed to live in a country where we are free to live and share our faith. It is the greatest of all rights because it brings true freedom to people who otherwise could never find it.
~ Pastor Robert Fleischmann
As we engage in the perennial patriotism of July, take a moment to thank God for your freedom in Christ – and then remember to thank him again for the freedom to thank him.