The Rev. Paul Rieger - Associate Pastor - Trinity Lutheran Church
The Value of Freedom
As I reflect on the 4th of July, one thing keeps popping up in my mind and that’s the value of freedom. We love freedom in this country. We love it so much we plaster it everywhere, on our cars, on t-shirts, even on our own bodies.
Freedom is also a value we have as Christians as we are free in Christ. Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” St. Paul here says the reason for our salvation is freedom from sin and our slavery to that sin. This is why Christ came, to give us that freedom, and as we observe throughout scripture, we can see that’s exactly what He’s doing. Jesus seeks to free people from the false teaching of the day by constantly teaching and showing others what God really wants of His people. God does not want them to be slaves to the law but wants them to be free. And as Christ goes to the cross, we see that He gives up His own life to release us from the chains which hold us in our sins. Freedom is so important to Jesus that He gives up His life.
And so the question I always ask is, what do you do with this? What do you do with your freedom? In America, we find ourselves celebrating freedom by exercising our rights as citizens. But how do you exercise your freedom in Christ? First, your knowledge of forgiveness. Just knowing you’re free has a huge effect on our lives. We’re changed people because of it. We no longer feel obligated to observe the Law of God, we willingly do it as a part of who we are. This freedom in Christ is also something which we share. It is a freedom given to everyone, but not everyone is free from their sins. And finally, it is a freedom which gives us hope for the future. Knowing we are free from our slavery to our sin lets us know that on the last day when all are judged, we shall be found free and be given life eternal with God.
So dear friends, as we exercise and celebrate our freedom this July, remember the freedom you have in Christ, the freedom so important to Him that He gave His life for you. Remember to exercise that freedom and flee from the old slavery while proclaiming the freedom to those who are still caught in slavery.