Religious freedom has changed its identity over the years. One could believe that religious freedom started when our nation’s founders separated from the mother country and established a nation where people were free to worship God in their own way. Biblical freedom, however, is obtained when a person accepts and receives Jesus Christ as their personal savior — when a person is born again.
The freedom extended by God to a born-again believer is a remarkable thing. It frees a person from the bondage of sin. There is a lot of discussion these days about a person being free to live as they want to live. As our nation discovered, freedom comes with responsibility. As our country grew, boundaries had to be established and laws had to be enacted. To live the Christian life, guidelines for dealing with others are necessary.
Paul wrote to the believers at Galatia, “… ye have been called unto liberty (freedom); only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” — Galatians 5: 13 KJV
Paul was concerned with making sure the people realized their responsibilities toward other believers. Freedom does not mean that a person can do what he or she wants. Though believers are spiritually free, we must be diligent in keeping a firm grip on our freedom or we will lose it.
We must hold onto our freedom in Christ Jesus by laying aside all improprieties and actions that would separate us from our freedom. In Hebrews 12: 1 this guidance is given to believers: “… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
Our spiritual freedom, like our natural freedom, came with a price. Freedom is not really free. Blood had to be shed. The Revolutionary War was costly; many people died to break away from the mother country. A debt had to be paid for religious freedom. The price was paid by a loving God who sent his only son to purchase our freedom.
Peter wrote, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold … But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” — 1 Peter 1: 18-19 KJV
Jesus Christ gave his life so we could be free. As one hymn goes, “Jesus paid is all, all to him I owe, sin has left a crimson stain, but He washes it white as snow.”
It is good to be free, and live for God in this world of uncertainty and wickedness, knowing that our hope is in Christ Jesus.
Lockett is the pastor of Pillar in Zion Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.