by Ken Yates
As I write this, our country is about to celebrate another July 4th, another Independence Day. That is the day that our nation declared its independence from England in the late 1700’s. England had imposed its will upon the early American colonies and the colonies longed to be free to determine their own destiny.
The concept of freedom is something we as Americans often take for granted. However, throughout history many people have not been free to worship as they desire, to say what they want, to travel where they want, or even run for political office. They could only dream of being free from the tyranny they lived under.
Not surprisingly, such stories form the bases of legends. One such story involves William Wallace, a man who lived in the 13th century who led the fight of the people of Scotland in their struggle for independence from England. Mel Gibson directed a movie called Braveheart in 1995 that detailed Wallace’s life. Despite historical inaccuracies in the movie, it describes the tribulations the Scots endured because they were not free. Wallace himself loses his wife and eventually his own life in the struggle. As he is tortured and executed by the English his final word is, “Freedom!”
Our own country’s Declaration of Independence describes how people long to be free. From our own history we could add the struggle of the slaves for that same goal. As in the case of Wallace, in both of these American conflicts people were even willing to give their lives in the pursuit of it. And, in all of these cases, people died in order to make others free.
As Christians, the Bible says that every one of us needed to experience freedom as well. We were enslaved to another power. That power was the power of sin. But as in all the cases just mentioned, Somebody died to set us free from that power (Rom 6:6-7).
When we believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life, we receive that life as a free gift that can never be lost. But there are also many other benefits that the believer receives. The death of Christ has broken the power of sin. Since Christ now lives within the believer through the Spirit of God, we no longer have to be slaves of that power.
In other words, we are free to walk by the power of the Holy Spirit. With Christ living in and through us we do not have to serve the lusts of our flesh.
People living under a dictatorship or under slavery cannot live freely. There must be another power that sets them free. There must be a change in circumstances. Through the power of Christ that is what has happened to the believer.
Some Christians, however, do not realize that their spiritual Independence Day has come. They think they are still under the power of sin and must fight it in their own power by keeping a list of laws or commandments. Others simply think living a godly life is too difficult and do not even try.
But freedom to live a godly life is available to all believers. We only have to rely upon the One who set us free.