Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Cost of Freedom

On this day which celebrates freedom and independence here in these United States, it seems fitting that thoughts about freedom and independence touch my mind.

For Scripture is filled with talk about freedom, especially in the New Testament. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Yet what does it mean to be free? Does it mean we can do what we want how we want when we want?
I suppose in a way that is true. Yet though “ ‘everything is permissible,’” “not every thing is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive.” We were given freedom, both by God and by the founders of this country, so that we would have a choice, yes. But it was to be the choice to do good rather than evil. “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

So freedom and independence comes at a cost. Yes, it cost many lives, and I do not want to diminish that sacrifice. But it also comes with a cost for every individual who is given freedom: The cost of responsibility.

As a result, we’ve been given a great gift in these United States. We have been given an even greater responsibility, especially those of us who enjoy the double blessing of freedom as both an American and a Christian.

So what are we doing with our freedom?

(Verses quoted are from the NIV and are located respectively in John 8:32, John 8:36, Galatians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 10:23, 1 Peter 2:16, Galatians 5:13, and John 8:31-32, emphases mine.)

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