After Freedom, what?

The Fourth of July is a national holiday in the United States of America, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (now officially known as the United Kingdom).

It has been over 200 years since America has enjoyed this freedom, but imagine for a moment, as to what the state of affairs would be if all Americans choose to allow themselves to be subjects once again to the former rulers. Seems utterly absurd, improbable and impossible, isn’t it? Yet, in our Spiritual lives, we don’t quite find this to be quiet as absurd, improbable or impossible. On the contrary, many who have experienced the freedom that comes by believing in Jesus Christ, have been entangled again by the yoke of slavery to the flesh, which is in conflict with the Spirit of God. Apostle Paul highlights this backsliding in his letter to the churches in Galatia (Galatians 5:1,13).

The word of God assures us of the freedom (liberty) we have in Christ Jesus, while alerting us to not let that freedom make us want to indulge the flesh any longer, and advising us to love serve one another.

Points to ponder:
All who believe in Jesus Christ are free, for the Bible teaches us that “the person whom the Son of God makes free, is free indeed (John 8:36).” But after freedom, what? Let us not revert to the yoke of slavery (of gratifying the desires of the flesh), but let us love and serve one another. After freedom, love and serve one another!

Galatians 5:1, 13 (KJV)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Are you/I free – truly free?

In the worldly sense, freedom implies that one is devoid of any subjugating force, but the Bible teaches us that true freedom indeed comes from subjugation; subjugation not in the sense of slavery, but in the sense of surrendering – total surrender. The created world is already in a state of slavery, in bondage to sin, because of the willful fall of man (Adam) by which sin and death entered the world (Romans 5:12). All of creation groans and travails in pain to be liberated and we groan to be adopted by God (Romans 8:23), no longer subject to sin (Genesis 4:7), but to the Savior Jesus Christ.

Points to ponder:
True freedom comes from being subject to Jesus Christ, who is Lord and Master (John 13:14). Are you/I subject to sin or the Savior? In other words, are you/I still under the slavery of sin or have we totally surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ, the Savior? The answer to this question would determine if you/I are truly free or not. True freedom comes by subjugation (total surrender) to Jesus Christ, for he/she whom the Son of God makes free, is free indeed (John 8:36).

Romans 8:21-23 (KJV)
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 

Galatians 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Independence Day or In-Dependence Day

On the 4th of July, America celebrates its independence from Great Britain, but sadly, while this nation’s founding was predicated predominantly on God and his word (the Bible) for its governance, it has slowly but surely regressed to be independent of God instead of being in-dependence of God.
So is America celebrating Independence day or In-Dependence day?

Although the dictionary would define “independence” as the quality or state of not being subject to anyone else or self-governing, the Biblical definition of the word “independent” is quite the contrary. To be truly independent, we ought to be in-dependence of God, and not subject to self-governance but God-governance. Instead of trusting in our own abilities and leaning on our own understanding, we must trust in the Lord with all of our heart and acknowledge him in all our ways, and he will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6) and instruct us in the way we should go (Psalm 32:8), for He knows the plans, he has for us, plans of peace and not of evil, plans to give us a an expected end (i.e., a future and a hope) (Jeremiah 29:11). In other words, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and be not independent of God (self-governing). In all your ways, be in-dependence of God (acknowledging him) and he shall direct your paths.

Point to ponder:
Are you independent of God or are you in-dependence of God? Only when we are in-dependence of God, we can be truly free from the worries and anxieties of life, for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Only in Jesus Christ is true independence – Don’t be independent but in-dependence!

Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Independence Series :: Liberty not License

Unfortunately, today, many take the grace of God and trample it under foot, by willful disobedience and a lifestyle that displeases God. I will be the first to admit, that I have been guilty of the same. Often we hear sermons, on the grace of God and the fact that there is no condemnation in Christ, but seldom are we told that the suffix to the “no condemnation in Christ” assurance, is that one ought to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. But sadly, the Liberty we experience in Christ, becomes a license to sin. We get churned into a wheel of sin – ask forgiveness – sin – ask forgiveness – ad infinitum.  Although everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10: 23) and the Liberty we have in Christ is one that must be exercised with restraint, especially if it could end up becoming a stumbling block to someone else.

Point(s) to ponder:
We may be free in Christ, but we are not at liberty to do what we please, even if it is permissible, when it hampers (becomes a stumbling block) another person’s ability to experience that same freedom in Christ.

1 Corinthians 8:9 (KJV)
9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

Hebrews 10:26-29 (KJV)
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Independence Series :: The Spirit of Freedom

The Bible states that the Spirit of the Lord is given as a gift to all who believe in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). The Bible also states that “we are the temple of the living God and the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16)”. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). In other words, freedom is in us, if we believe; freedom from law, from the wages of sin, from condemnation. This is true independence.

Points to ponder:
Are you/I free? In other words, does the Spirit of the Lord dwell in you/me? Has our temple been cleaned by the blood of Jesus Christ, or does he have to take a whip to set things right before God? Only in a cleaned temple will the Spirit of the Lord dwell.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (KJV)
17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Independence Series :: Freedom to serve

Interestingly, though many a times,freedom wars are fought so that one nation need not be in servitude of another, in Christianity, freedom (liberty) that is given, when one believes in Jesus Christ, is not so that one need not serve anymore, but in fact it is given freely so that one does serve. Liberty in Jesus Christ is given so that we will be obedient and willing servants of the Most High God. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are made free from being slaves to sin to being servants of righteousness.

Points to ponder:
“Are you/I free?” In other words, that same question can be asked, “Are you/I a servant of God?”

1 Peter 2:15-16 (KJV)
15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

1 Corinthians 7:22 (KJV)
22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

Independence Series :: From yoking

As Christ Jesus’ followers, we are not to be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind, for we are set apart (sanctified) by the Holy Spirit of God (Romans 12:2, 1 peter 1:2). We are expected to be independent of the world, though we inhabit it, even if it is only for a short while, for all those who are friends of this world (system) are enemies of God (James 4:4). So on one hand, we are not to be yoked with the world. On the other hand, Jesus said, that His burden was light and His yoke was easy (Matthew 11:30). This implies that we are to be yoked with Jesus Christ and bear His burden (Matthew 11:29), which is the Salvation of all mankind, for God does not want anyone to perish, but that all must come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

In summary, our independence from the world must result in us being in dependence of Jesus Christ, i.e., our freedom comes from being freed from yoking to the world and from being yoked to Christ.

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Independence Series :: True Freedom

Today on the 4th of July, the United States of America celebrates its independence day, but sadly while freedom from tyranny and subjugation is celebrated, there are other forces that seem to subjugate and bring under bondage the inhabitants of this blessed land. The LA times, just a couple of days ago (June 29, 2011), stated that “drug addictions amongst teens is the #1 health problem in America today”.  Addictions to media, pornography, nicotine (tobacco), alcohol, marijuana, food, gambling, and even prescription drugs are very common in our day and age. So the question that begs to be asked is “Are we truly free?”

But before we can answer that question, we must first know “What is true freedom?” True freedom is freedom that goes beyond the grave. It is freedom that can be experienced and enjoyed by those who have no fear of death; not just the first (physical) death, but the second (spiritual) death as well. The only one who is truly free, is the one who believes in the Son of God; in Jesus Christ. For him/her whom the Son (of God) makes free, is the one who is free indeed.

So this independence day, ask yourself, am I truly free? If you cannot answer that with an affirmative “yes”, then believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for when Jesus makes you free (from sin, its wages which is death), you are free indeed (from any of the forces of this world or the one to come).

John 8:36 (KJV)
36 If the Son [Jesus Christ] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Christian Republic Day

The 26th day of January  is one of the national holidays in India which is celebrated to signify the replacement of the Government of India Act 1935 by the Constitution of India, which would henceforth serve as the governing document. This date was chosen in honor and in memorial of the declaration of independence of 1930.

In our life as well, we need to have a declaration of independence from the legalistic (laws) and ritualistic aspects  of religious government and the Constitution of Love should replace this. Such independence can only come from the recognition of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Once we believe in Him, we are no longer under the condemnation of the law, but are governed by His Constitution of Love (for God and for all mankind). When we believe, we are made free, independent of the forces of this world, and in dependence of Him.

Have you believed in Jesus Christ and accepted him as your Lord and Master? If so, when was that. In other words, when is your Christian Republic Day?
If you have not believed in Jesus Christ, delay no further. Today is the day of Salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Today can be your Republic day!

Mine was September 30th, 1990.

Romans 8:2 (KJV)
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (KJV)
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Give me liberty, or give me death!

A year before America got its independence from Great Britain, on March 23rd, 1775, the to be Governor of Virginia, an influential and radical advocate of American revolution and defender of historic rights, Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death!” speech to the gathering of delegates in the St. John’s Church in Richmond. It is 234 years since the declaration of American independence but even today the words of the man who claimed to revere the majesty of heaven above all else, still rings as a battle cry for liberty. We can apply the words of this historic speech quite aptly to our Christian life. Christian life is warfare. It is a fight. The great commission is indeed a command of war. When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we do not merely become sinners turned saints, but soldiers in His army.

The final paragraph in Patrick Henry’s speech was “It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, ‘Peace! Peace!’ — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

Indeed it is true that the war is actually begun [and it culminates in Armageddon (Revelation 16: 14,16)]! Our brethren (missionary men and women serving God) are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? Is our life so dear, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery [to sin and the adversary of God (Satan)]? Life without Liberty in Christ Jesus is no life at all. Let the following be our cry as well. Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty [in Christ alone], or give me death [For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain]!

Points to ponder:
1. Are you/I standing idly? Let us equip ourselves with the armor of God and engage in the fight.

1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV)
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.