If you get on the internet and say, go to Google, and type in “Freedom definition” here is what you will get:
Freedom: “The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.”
To be free is to be liberated from a sense of captivity, whether that be physical, emotional, cultural or social. It was these kinds of things that the founders of the American Declaration of Independence took very seriously. Thomas Jefferson for example is significantly quoted in history as declaring:
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
However, the notion of ‘Freedom’ does not stop there. As cultures have grown and changed, and as society has evolved, writers like George Orwell developed a slightly more confrontational and bluntly practical quality to freedom:
Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
But if we go back to our Google search regarding “Freedom definition” here is the FIRST thing that appears in front of, Freedom: “The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.”
Freedom: The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.
You see in this definition of freedom, ‘you’ are the focus. ‘You’ are the priority. ‘Your personal freedom’ to act, speak and think as you like is all that true freedom really is.
Here is another version of that definition by a very well respected journalist of the Sunday Times in England, Lynn Barber:
I have freedom. But freedom means total selfishness. It means nobody cares much what you do.
What then does it actually mean to be free? And exactly how does this freedom impact upon the notion or the ‘right’ to express that freedom in ‘faith’?
Faith: “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something”
Thanks again Google.
What then does having the freedom of faith mean?
Does that mean, as a human being, you have the freedom to believe in anything as a god, a religion, or as a spiritual authority? Well, yes it does. You are free to believe in anything. The notion of freedom being “The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.” You have that form of freedom.
In this modern society, you are free to believe in anything, except a God who may in fact have an urgent and dire message of salvation for every living, breathing man, woman and child on the planet. In this modern society of the 21st century, it is apparently enormously insulting to believe that humanity is not and will not ever be perfect.
It is enormously insulting to believe that there is only one God who reigns over all things. It is incredibly insulting to believe that there is a need for genuine forgiveness, a need for a genuine path in which to live life, a genuine structure for positive human relationships, a genuine contact with a genuine all powerful and over-ruling God. It is incredibly insulting to believe such things in this modern, liberal, open and accepting society.
A society that is willing to accept everyone and anything except you, if you actually believe in a God who has a plan and a purpose and a blessing… and call yourself Christian.
Now I know that at this point, you are very uncomfortable, and you are probably thinking, “Oh for goodness sake, why on earth are you taking us into this horror scene?”
Well I’m doing it because this is real ‘modern life’. And in the midst of this real life, all of us are going to experience the challenge regarding ‘what Christian freedom is’ at school, or at work, or in the general public at some point because of our faith.
You see, we live in a world that is happy to talk about ‘the freedom of faith’ but when push comes to shove, the ‘freedom of faith’, Christian faith, actually means nothing to the world. However, I do want to remind you even if it seems obvious, about that freedom that has come to you through your faith in the Lord God and Jesus the Christ.
May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to your promise;
then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.
You see, this is in truth who you are. This is in truth, the relationship you have with the creator of the universe. You have love, you have salvation, you have hope; and because of these things you have the truth that there is in fact a ruler of the universe who knows you, and is committed to you personally.
Yes, you are free. Free from judgement, free from condemnation, free from death.
No, you are not free from the love and the authority of the one who saved you.
Look carefully at Psalm 119:.45: I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
I will understand, I will know, and I will live in freedom… because I have come to understand, Lord, that it is you who rules. As such, I have come to understand your requirements, your blessings and your judgements. I have come to understand what life is truly all about, and so I live it. I am free to live as God’s person no matter what the situation and circumstances.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
As a Christian I am free to be a servant of the Lord God.
As a Christian I am free to be a messenger of his love, his mercy, his forgiveness, his salvation.
As a Christian I am free to be a slave to the gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus.
He did not force me, he did not beat me, he did not threaten me. He loved me and expressed that love in the life death and resurrection of his Son… and I loved him back. I still do, every day.
As he chose to become a slave to death so that I might live, so I freely choose to become his slave, his servant, so that you may know his love. Because I know his love.
You see the apostle Paul understood his freedom and he understood that with it came a responsibility. It was the responsibility to publicly believe.
As such, what then is our responsibility as a believer? Live by faith and never look away. Live by faith as you examine every situation and every circumstance, even the grieving and painful ones, as well are the joyous and blessed. Live by faith and speak to those you know and care for in love, the love of understanding and sharing their circumstances –
I am free, because I believe he lived and died and rose again for me. I am free because I believe.
I will never stop believing, no matter what society says.
I will never stop believing that this modern society of the 21st century, needs to hear that it is not and will never be perfect. I will never stop believing that there is only one God who reigns over all things. I will never stop believing that there is a need for genuine forgiveness, a need for a genuine path in which to live life, a genuine structure for positive human relationships, a genuine contact with a genuine all powerful and over-ruling God.
I will never stop believing and as such, I will never stop talking about this truth, this joy, this freedom, this slavery in which I live… and which every person needs so desperately.
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”