THE SIN OF LOVING HUMAN FREEDOM
Jn.8: 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Let us place all our cards on the table up front so there is no misunderstanding. Earthly freedom is not only a mirage, but it often is a platform for carnality, hedonism, and a general atmosphere of self centeredness. People demand it; people leverage it; people use it; people abuse it; and earthly freedom is a source of pride and self righteousness. Just the phrase “the land of the free” is fraught with self righteousness and an open suggestion of superiority and exceptionalism. It fills the bosom with pride and expands the patriotic chest, but does it represent Christ? Of course if that does not matter, or even if that is just one of many considerations, then we need not go any further since we have already maligned Christ and rejected His Lordship.
But if you are a believer who professes Jesus Christ as your Lord, then you are not faced with a choice. You have no choice at all. The so called freedom supplied to you here on earth is not only meaningless and irrelevant, it most often presents itself as a competitor to Christ and His freedom. This is an eternal paradox since we are free in Jesus Christ and yet we are bondslaves as well. And although the world can never understand it, but we find our freedom in being His servants. And in that we are free indeed. When you live under His Lordship most decisions have already been made. You need not weigh any financial or political considerations. Jesus is Lord and what He says is what is truth for you. And that is pure freedom.
But the church has strayed so far from Christ that it now carefully embraces, defends, and even loves the freedom provided by a secular government. And in so doing we reject the freedom afforded us in Christ. You can only serve one master. And when we attempt to have one leg in the world and one in the Spirit we in realty only have a leg in the world. God will not share His glory with another, and He will not be in competition with anything. It is not wrong to make use of an earthly freedom, but it is sinful to defend it and complain when it disappears. Let us examine this phenomenon.
I guess the most recent revelation is the controversy concerning the 2nd Amendment. This is a freedom or a right granted by the Constitution of the United States, however it does not come from Scripture. And even though you as a believer may legally own a gun, and depending on your view of New Testament truth it may not be wrong, when a controversy arises we must never be drawn into such things. And if that earthly freedom is taken away, we should rejoice in Christ and not lament our circumstance. These earthly conflicts do not belong to us. We are completely free in Jesus Christ and all these earthly freedoms should never be our source for joy or protection or anything.
But at the core of the gun issue or all the Constitutional amendment issues at large looms the double minded sin which in reality places the freedom found in Jesus Christ in competition with the freedom found in manmade documents. And this is no minor distinction. This is a grave issue which has the capacity to deeply compromise the spiritual lives of individual believers as well as set the church on a course of spiritual shipwreck. And we have seen the evangelical church in America sell its spiritual birthright for a mess of pottage called nationalism. And issues like free speech and gun ownership and voting rights and a variety of other political issues have been like an undertow as it sucked the church into demanding and defending rights as if we are not completely and absolutely free in Jesus Christ. If we cannot be humble and content and even filled with joy based solely on our freedom in Christ then we as professing believers still do not know what freedom in Christ actually is.
Freedom in Jesus Christ transcends space and time. It is not just reserved for one day in heaven. His freedom begins when a soul is born again, and then through spiritual growth that saint begins to walk in that freedom through knowledge and experience. And we who walk in such freedom gladly release our rights and freedoms here on earth. That release is not an elective; that is a necessity if we actually desire to walk in His freedom. It is painful to watch as believers clamor for earthly freedoms, even to the extent of demanding they be allowed to own guns and even assault weapons!? And at the very heart of that is an ignorance of the freedom found in Christ.
But many of us who cannot believe what we see were once a part of it on some level. So I hold out some hope that many will be awakened to their sin. But the longer one refuses to take a serious look at their views the more entrenched they become. Years ago when some of us were led out by God’s grace and God's Spirit, there were not as many voices as there are today. And let us also rejoice in the fact that there are many believers who are throwing off the weighted grave clothes of politics, nationalism, and even violence.
The western culture will continue to grow worse in its love of itself and the church will continue to buy into much of it. But we, as followers of Jesus Christ, must hold fast to our profession. We are not of this world, and any attempt to brighten its future or sanitize its present is not only futile, but it is at odds with the gospel. Will we ever return to an eternal perspective through which we see everything? When will Jesus become the Chief Cornerstone of everything we say, think, and do?
The devil is very slippery. He doesn’t use exorcisms to fool the western believers. No, he isn’t limited to supporting moral evils. No, he has adjusted his game and now he uses that which seems right and thereby appeals to the self righteous flesh. It is most ingenuous as well as diabolical. He knows most evangelical believers will rush to be pro-life and support traditional marriage, so he deceives them to allow their support of such things to become their spiritual obsession at the expense of the gospel of redemption. And who can be against earthly freedom, especially the freedom of religion? So believers by the millions have been subtly lured into joining forces with unbelievers and defending earthly freedoms through political battles, legislative maneuvers, and outright armed conflict. And there again the gospel is all but gone and is at least obscured by the forest of the cares of this present world.
And so the love of earthly freedom is not just unwise, but for the believer it is a sin against God. When President Bush suggested that the United States had a divine mission to spread freedom around the world he was deceived. The calling for the church always has been and always will be spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and then teaching new believers God’s Word. And that commission is in effect for believers whether they live in a democracy, a communist country, a totalitarian country, or unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Amen.