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November 1, 2014

Clergy Corner: Real freedom comes in Jesus Christ

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 2:52 pm, Wed Jun 11, 2014.

In July we naturally think of freedom as we celebrate the birth of our nation, which gained its independence from England by force and established the freedoms we know today.  
 
It’s humane and morally right for nations to be free. God created all nations and their people to be free. If the creator made us free, then no other creature should hold us in bondage.  
 
Throughout human history, many nations have built empires and dynasties and ruled the whole world for a time. The freedom of the Christian is not dependent upon the laws of the nations they inhabit.They are citizens of heaven and answer to God and have a freedom in Him that transcends all human bondage.  
 
Even in bondage to men, we remain free in Christ because our salvation is beyond the reach of mortal man. Real freedom is in Jesus Christ. Paul instructs the Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”  (Gal. 5:1).  
 
The Christian remains free in Christ. The Bible teaches that all the world-dominating powers were put into place by God and the time for these empires to wax and wane are also within the control of God (Acts 17:26).
 
The ultimate greatness of this nation is that it champions freedom. American citizens are free to try, to fail, to try again, to succeed, to achieve and also to abstain. This phenomenon is uniquely American.  
 
God has abundantly blessed America and its people. We give praise to God.
 
There are positives and negatives in most things. Accordingly, unrestrained freedom can have a dark side in that it allows, supports and even defends the right of citizens to exercise their freedom in ways that are offensive, obscene, repugnant to decency and generally go against the Christian ethic and moral standards. This unrestrained exercise of freedom is not a choice for Christian Americans; they must not follow the pattern of the world. Rather, they must obey the clear teachings of Jesus Christ.
 
The hallmark of the Christian is humility, gentleness and forbearance in love for others; even those who offend and persecute us (Esp. 4:2). Our humility prevents us from always having it our way, as that would be thinking of ourselves before others and thinking too highly of ourselves.  
 
When non-Christians offend us we are to be patient and forebear with the offender. We have to remember that to win an argument against an unsaved person is tantamount to losing an opportunity to save a soul. As ambassadors for Christ, our mission requires that our response to others must be filled with love; the unconditional love Jesus teaches.  
 
Christians are indeed free like all Americans, but not free to sin; they are free to live out their faith and obey God, to clothe themselves in the righteousness that only life in Christ can give. The greatest comfort and peace we can have is knowing that we are completely free in Jesus Christ. 
 
Rev. Arthur L. Porter, Moody

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