What is the meaning of Freedom? As we celebrate the Fourth of July, or as it is known America as Independence day I wanted to shed light on the meaning of Freedom. In the United States of America, we are blessed to have what is known as Freedom to this day. Whether it is the same kind of Freedom our Founding Fathers were looking for is debatable. But we know that Christ has given us some types of Freedom.
According to the etymology of the word, “free”, which came from “freo” in Old English, it means no longer being in bondage. Other meanings are related to love, and also NOT being under “foreign rule and despotism” (Online Etymology Dictionary).
When talking about the first meaning of the word, Freedom – Christ has made us free from a bondage to sin and death. Death here is not talking about physical death, but spiritual death, which is the suffering one must go through if he or she chooses not to accept Christ.
He gave us a Free will so that we can choose whether to love and accept Him or not. Morgan Freeman, no pun intended, said in Bruce Almighty, while he was playing God in the role said to Bruce when he was asked how to make someone love someone else without affecting free will, said, “When you find that one out, let me know?” I thought about this even though it was a movie. I came to realize that God loves us so much, and He even loved lucifer so much to give him the free will. He gave us the power to choose whether to love Him or not, which brings up an interesting point when discussing Romans. Paul says that we are “slaves to Christ”, and that He has “chosen us”. But this concept of being a slave brings up an interesting question – does being a slave negate your ability to have a free will? Can it stop you from running away at any time? No you still have the choice, and you have to live with consequences. We are slaves to Christ, but He does not treat us like slaves or servants, He treats us like friends. For people that went through slavery in this nation, sometimes the consequence was very painful, or even death. As long as your mind is correctly working and you have the mental aptitude to make a choice then you have a free will. If you are mentally insane, or have a disease like Alzheimer’s or Dementia, then you may not have free will or choice in what you think or believe or act. In that case God is taking care of you, and He knows what is in your heart.
So going back to the concept of being free- another meaning of free is without cost. But we were not free, we were very expensive so to say that we are slaves to Christ is not that accurate because He bought us with a very special price. When He created the Earth and knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb, He went out and specifically chose us to see which of us were worth the price, and then we were given the special option of getting to choose who’s going to be our owner, God, or satan. When I am thinking about this I get the image of Toy Story. The Father is like the original owner of Woody in Toy Story 1, the boy who bought and loved Woody with all his heart. By the time Toy Story 3 comes around, (sorry for spoiler), Woody and the toys belong to a new owner and that is a little girl, which could represent Jesus. Theologically this doesn’t make that much sense and is a loose interpretation, but it gives the example of being bought with a price. In Toy Story 3, Woody actually chooses to be with the girl. The Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are by all means superior to the characters in Toy Story, so I want to emphasize that this was a metaphor to illustrate a point – that we essentially are not cheap, but we were bought with a price and we have the capability to choose our Master. We were bought with a price so we could choose to be Kings and Preists for the Kingdom of God.
Christ also established us as free from the law. What this really means is free from the consequences of not following the law legalistically and ritualistically, but we as Christians have to follow the Ten Commandments, or we have to face the consequences of not repenting from those sins. In Galatians, it says that the Law was actually like a teacher, and once we have been taught, we don’t need them any more and what they have taught us should be written our hearts and minds.
In America we are blessed to have Freedom up to this point, which is essentially free from foreign rule or despotism, but even that was bought with a price. Many people had to die so that we could experience the Freedom that we have today. When God is going to do something great, there is usually some kind of cost, or trade off. In Economics, we call this an Opportunity Cost,( the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices) [Wikipedia]. I’m sure God has done His cost and benefit analysis when coming to terms with the Freedom He gave us as Americans, and also as He gave us as Christians.
Looking ahead to the future, are we always going to have Freedom in America? Maybe, maybe not, no one really knows, and it would be a sad thing to see if it ever did occur that America lost it’s Freedom. As Christians in America look at how many of the Ten Commandments we have broken: 1) No other gods before The Lord, 2) Do not make or worship graven images 3) Do not take the Lord’s name in vain or entertain or associate with someone who takes the Lord’s name in vain 4) Remember and observe the Sabbath (Saturday – if you are not sure – think of Spanish for Saturday, SABADO, 5) Honor your Father and Mother 6) Do not murder 7) Do not commit adultery 8 ) Do not Steal 9) Do not lie 10) Do not covet or desire something that belongs to someone else.
How many of those do we follow in America? How many of those do we follow as Christians? Even look at our Law makers and see how many of them follow all these Commandments. But fortunately, Jesus gave us two Commandments, known as the Great Commandments, “Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as you love yourself”.
1 Corinthians 13:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
If we really loved each other regardless of being Christian, or not being Christian, imagine what kind of revolution could take place. But because there is an opponent out there trying to keep us from this kind of love in our lives, and it is only a love that can come from Christ and he wants to steal us of that love.
Let us celebrate that we have Freedom in America, and that we can enjoy the Freedom from the time being from severe persecution and slavery, and foreign rule and oppression as we take pride in the God that holds our nation together, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ.