“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. . . For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:1, 13–14, AV)
On the fourth of July, we celebrate Independence Day. Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the declaration on June 11, 1776. After presenting it to the Continental Congress, they made changes and came to an agreement. On July 2, they voted to declare independence from Great Britain. Two-hundred copies of the Declaration of Independence were printed, known as the Dunlap Broadsides. On July 4, 1776 the declaration document was released in the colonies. Following the declaration, it took time and bloodshed for the colonies to experience the freedom that they sought.
This is one of the key phrases in the declaration. “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.”
By their agreement with the declaration, the founders of this country demonstrated a foundational understanding God who established the divine rights of people and the responsibility of governments to ensure that these rights were protected. The point is that God desires that people enjoy freedom.
Many in our society and the world do not understand the freedom that God wants us to enjoy. Paul’s words to the Galatians speak of freedom. Jesus paid the price for this freedom by shedding His blood on the cross. He set those who believe free from sin, its bondage, its penalty, and man’s futile attempts to justify himself by legalistic endeavors. Paul goes on to warn us not to be entangled with the yoke of sin again. Why? It is because it will snuff out our freedom like pouring water on a candle.
Paul then exhorts us regarding the use of our freedom, that we must never use it as license to please the sinful desires of the flesh. We who believe have within us a desire to please God and this means doing things His way. It is the way of righteousness.
Our society and many others are running off the rails because they do not understand freedom. The humanistic view of freedom is that man is the determiner of ethical behavior based upon a majority or vocal majority opinion. The root of the problem is a denial of divine moral principles. By determining what is right and wrong according to the purpose of man’s own corrupted heart, man places himself in bondage to sin. In the guise of freedom, man becomes helplessly imprisoned, enslaved.
Only true believers in Jesus Christ can experience true freedom. However, danger looms. Groups of people professing Christ are permitting the majority or vocal majority opinion to infiltrate their minds. They have chosen to side with those driven by the flesh and in doing so find themselves unknowingly chained. The result is a loss of freedom. Many are truly miserable, perplexed, joyless and do not understand why.
Paul’s warning is that we must guard our hearts and minds so that we will never be attached to the wisdom of men. Rather, we must be attached to the wisdom of God. For that is where we will experience true freedom and joy. Believer, rejoice this Independence Day in your freedom.