As our nation celebrates Veterans Day and we thank God for the freedoms this country enjoys, it is important to point out the freedoms we have through Jesus Christ. As Christians, we believe His hard-won victory on the cross gives us true liberating freedom. Here are five specific ways that freedom plays out.
1. Freedom from the guilt all inherit.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:22 that "in Adam all die." Physical death and the risk of spiritual death are universal realities because of the sin we inherit from Adam and Eve. In Christ we are forgiven, promised a home in heaven, and set free from guilt.
2. Freedom from sinful deeds we personally commit.
We all know right and wrong and willingly choose to do wrong. Sinful actions not only put a wedge between God and us, they result in numerous negative repercussions. Christ forgives our sins, and the indwelling Holy Spirit can give us strength to overcome temptations.
3. Freedom within ourselves over personal struggles.
If we are willing, God's Spirit can even help us overcome sinful habits that may have held us in bondage for years. Whether the issue is gnawing remorse over past bad decisions, feelings of worthlessness, emotional pain from abuse, or just fear about tomorrow, Jesus gives us peace within. The gospel is our way to peace with God, and is also the key to peace with self.
4. Freedom from judgment that is ultimately coming.
Jesus is in the process of restoring a broken world. "Eschatology" is an 85-cent word that refers to what the Bible says about "last things." One day the entire world and universe will be made brand new (Revelation 21:5). Just as there is a global, universal eschatology, Jesus gives us a joyous personal eschatology. This fallen world is under judgment, but Jesus has made the believer exempt!
5. Freedom to face eternity and our soul's final destiny.
Hebrews 9:27 says, "[I]t is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." We may not want to think about our own mortality, but it is unavoidable. There is a date that we will leave this world, and God knows when that date is. It is very freeing when we know we are ready to face God.
In my own work, I am often reminded of these freedoms in other ways. Not long ago I was asked to visit the friend of a friend who had been arrested and put in jail. As a minister of the gospel, these types of requests come along more than many imagine. It is an honor to do such things, and when people find themselves in the deepest of valleys they are often quite open to allowing Jesus Christ to become Lord of their life.
The facility was very bleak, with rough gray concrete everywhere and seemingly endless hallways of bars and flaking paint. Not surprisingly, an air of gloom and hopelessness permeated the place, and this was reflected on the faces of the inmates.
The particular jail where I visited the inmate in question had a very small courtyard in the middle of the building. There were a few concrete squares in an otherwise dirt courtyard. The dusty courtyard area reminded me of forlorn places I have visited in developing nations. Suddenly I noticed a small flower growing up against the concrete wall in one corner. It was the only bit of vegetation in this otherwise lifeless place. Some invisible breeze had carried a grain of pollen over the roof and into this small open area within the prison facility. The bleakness of the surroundings made that one little flower all the more vivid.
When you think of the bondage, sufferings, and entanglements that permeate this world, the freedoms that we have through Christ appear all the more precious. Jesus is the flower of beauty in a barren dusty place. He absolves the guilty imprisoned by sin. The heart longs for freedom and finds it in Christ.
Alex McFarland is a Christian apologist and evangelist. He has written 17 books and also serves as Director of the Center for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University, located in South Carolina. He also leads the Truth for a New Generation Conference held annually in Spartanburg, South Carolina.