Summary: We have freedom in Christ as God’s people. Use that freedom, not for license to live selfishly, but to worship God completely… and love the people in your life unselfishly. Be free… be free to love.
Freedom, Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Atop the hill in Washington, D.C. stands the Capitol Building of the United States of America. The cornerstone was laid in 1793, but the crowning touch, is the statue on top of the rotunda known as the “Freedom Lady” that was placed there in 1863. The Freedom Lady stands nearly 20 feet tall and stands proudly atop the dome. A crest of stars frames her face.
A shield of Stars and Stripes is in her left hand. The Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning out of many one, is inscribed on her base. Sculpted in Rome, “the Lady” was brought to America aboard a sailing ship. During the trip across the Atlantic Ocean, a fierce storm developed. The Captain ordered cargo thrown overboard to lighten the load.
The sailors wanted to throw the heavy statue overboard, but the captain refused, shouting over the wind, “No! Never! We’ll flounder before we throw ‘Freedom’ away.” And so, “Freedom” was saved, and the statue stands above the dome today, because one man stood for “Freedom.”
This morning I want to talk to you about both the freedom we enjoy in this land and the Christian Liberty we enjoy in Christ. We live in a land characterized by freedom.
Later this week we will celebrate Independence Day – the fourth of July. This is a day long celebrated as the day in which our nation was born. On July fourth, 1776 the American Colonial Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence.
We Have Freedom to Worship
Felicia Hemans, speaking of the Pilgrim Fathers wrote, “Ay, call it holy ground, the soil where first they trod! They have left unstained what there they found— Freedom to worship God.”
Just as our nation celebrates independence and freedom politically on the fourth of July, we also celebrate religious independence in a land which was born largely out of a desire to worship God freely and according to one’s own conscious and according to one’s own convictions.
Each one of us has received a legacy of freedom. As Americans, we enjoy probably more protection of individual rights and more freedom than do any other people on the face of the earth.
As believers, we celebrate the freedom that we have been given in Christ.
Galatians 5:13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (ESV)
Freedom is not License
While the New Testament message is one of God’s overwhelming graces; there is a balance in the scripture in regard to personal responsibility and good conduct. God’s mercy should not be confused with a license to live any way that we please.
Freedom does bring with it responsibility, but sometimes it is difficult to find the balance between freedom and responsibility. While some Christians fall into the trap of overindulgence in the name of liberty, others fall into the snare of legalism – trying to please God.
True Christian liberty is about letting go of legalism and guilt and embracing the freedom that grace brings; the freedom to love people completely and the freedom to know God personally.