Sunday I presented to the fellowship my study on the Ministry of Freedom, a core value. Since freedom is such an important value in the Christian and the American life I felt that this follow-up was necessary. I am looking at freedom from a strictly Christian viewpoint, which is, in actuality, the only viewpoint.
If you are a Christian what more needs to be said? Why is it found necessary for worldly or theological representatives to propose to him certain rules of conduct or values to live by? Are not these rules actually threats to his genuine liberty acquired through grace?
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Gal. 5:1
Isn’t this the apparent paradox of the Christian life? Free but not free! This is the tension between salvation by grace (as a gift) and the working out of that salvation with fear and trembling. The traditional way is for the theologian to step in and explain, adapt, coordinate, and systemize, to hide the paradox behind the veil of words. But, this is a lost cause because the paradox is in our inability to reason correctly and not in the actual living out of our life of grace. The explanations of man stifle life and truth; free man is free, he is free because he has been freed by God. If you are a Christian what more needs to be said?
Theological discussion is trespassing when it tries to mediate in this unique heavenly relationship. “Free” man is given a gift by God, “be free,” act free, “stand firm” in this freedom as a free man; ethical philosophic discussions only destroy this freedom by trying to establish what the limits of this freedom are. The questions men want to know are just how free they are and where does this freedom end and where are the boundaries? Yet, these definitions only serve to bind so many of us Christians. Even very serious Christians need to be constantly reminded of what they are, they are FREE.
As I have tried to explain at other times, it is necessary to establish where we are at on the timeline of our journey since the creation of Adam and Eve. We are no longer in the Garden of Eden, we are on the other side of the swirling angelic swords guarding against our re-entrance to Paradise. We are now in the garden of fallen angels, the garden of evil and the world of confusion. The movie “The Matrix” exemplified these parallel situations nicely.
True meanings are important because in this world we now have things defined by different sets of competing criteria. Freedom defined by God is not the same as freedom defined by the world. What was once defined according to the Garden environment of “good” is now defined in an environment of both good and evil. What was easy before has now become complicated. What we once knew intuitively now involves many choices. In the world, outside the Garden of God, the “freedom of choice” has now become the new freedom. Choice is the result of our confused ability to reason correctly and confusion is the primary element employed by the prince of this world to govern his slaves and keep them in compliance. In a world of darkness we do not know how to distinguish between good and evil. Freedom, as viewed by the Christian, is the invasion of something new (not really new but eternally old) into the world of darkness. That “something new” is light and understanding which was given to us in (3) ways, Christ, the written word, and the Spirit. Christ is the Light, the living Word, our example, the correct understanding of life. The Bible is God’s written instruction book and reference book for all things relating to making correct choices in a foreign land, this world. The Holy Spirit is the indwelling presence of Christ to illuminate and differentiate between good and evil and to help us.
It shouldn’t be necessary to point out the fact that the Church has been an opponent to real freedom with its propagation of politics, patriotism, ecclesiology, and theology. All of these are the attempt to translate simple spiritual freedom, the freedom of Eden, into terms of this world, associated with power, confusion, and choices. Whenever the Church has been in a position of power it has regarded real freedom as an enemy, e.g. primitive Christians and the Anabaptist. Freedom as defined by God and correctly understood is incompatible with power.
As citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, living in a foreign land, we do not nullify or weaken the freedom given us by our Father country although we do obey the laws of the foreign country to the extent that we do not disobey the spiritual nature of the freedom we hold supreme. Our only citizenship is to Heaven. To the extent that we get involved with the processes and the confusion of choices inherent in the nature of a darkened world, we discount the validity of true freedom showing ourselves to still be in darkness, and choose the world over heaven and the prince of darkness over the Prince of Light. “We cannot serve two masters.”
Our duty and our right is to fully affirm in our freedom the truth of the glory of God to those who live in darkness, and that there exist an exit from the confusion of darkness into the Light of truth, and also that darkness and confusion are products of wrath which will soon be manifested in a coming judgment.
Now is the time for salvation. Freed men and women are free.