From the Pastor’s Desk
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” -Galatians 5:1
As we approach the 4th of July and the celebration of our independence, we are reminded that freedom is never free; that a price has been paid for us to live in the land of the free and that our religious freedom in this country is a privilege that others around the world do not have. Every year we celebrate our independence without realizing that even in this great country, there are still great injustices, great inequalities and many issues that remain unresolved from our past. Independence by itself does not guarantee justice, equality, equity or common decency. We still have a long way to go to become the one nation under God we should be.
Paul, writing to the Galatians in his letter, lamented the fact that believers who had been set free by Christ to join the family of faith had been deceived into a “works righteousness” theology based on the Jewish law. Those who through grace had come to believe in Jesus Christ were now being told that they needed to go back and fulfill some legal requirement in order to be included in the kingdom of God. This is like receiving a gift and then being told you must pay for it.
Paul said this should not be so. Jesus already paid the price for our freedom and He took our sin to the cross. Anything we do in our lives to honor Him or follow His commandments should be done out of a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving, not out of a sense of duty or debt. We could never repay Jesus for what He did for us on the cross and we shouldn’t be trying to earn heaven. Instead, we should be living our lives in the freedom that Christ gives us to love as He loves and to forgive as He forgives.
As you celebrate your freedom this 4th of July, remember that we are set free by Christ from sin so that we do not have to submit to it anymore. We are set free to live different lives for Him and to uphold all that He has taught us. We are free to invite others to accept their freedom in Christ and we are free to reject any precondition, other than faith, to our salvation in Christ, knowing that even faith is a gift from God Himself. So go be free in Christ to do what’s right and to bring about His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. Use your freedom to set others free: give them Jesus.
-By Pastor Miguel