In the United States of America, July 4th is known as Independence Day. It commemorates the day in 1776 that the 13 Colonies declared that they were a free and independent nation, no longer under British rule. As we approach the celebration of 241 years as a nation, I reflect upon the concept of free and independent.
Many Christians who are Americans concepts of freedom and independence shaped more American than they are Christian. When Americans talk about freedom, it most often centers on the freedom to do what we want to do, without interference from the government. As Christians, the freedom that we enjoy is first and foremost a freedom from. In Christ we are free from the penalty of sin, the power of sin and the practice of sin (Romans 8:1-7). We are free from guilt and shame. Free from worry and regret. The freedom that we have in Christ enables us to be free to approach God with confidence (Hebrews 4:14-16).
It is dangerous for a follower of Christ to adopt the American spirit of independence. The spirit of independence calls on us to rely on ourselves. However Christians are not called to be self-reliant, but rather God dependent. He is the giver of life and the source of our supply. Additionally, we are called into fellowship with other Christians. We are a connected community and not isolated individuals.
Our freedom in Christ obligates us to proclaim the message of freedom to those who are still in bondage to sin. We share the message of Christ, which brings freedom (Luke 4:17-19). We cannot be satisfied until those taken captive by the devil have been liberated by the truth of God (2 Timothy 2:26). When the message of freedom is obeyed, it transforms our world. When the world embraces the gospel of Christ, we will truly be free. Freedom in Christ means freedom from war and terrorism. We will be free from racism, sexism, and classism. In Christ, we are free indeed (John 8:31-36).
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Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.