Summary: As we celebrate the 4th, let us remember liberty is the most precious possession God gives the world. He gives us a free will to choose this day whom we will serve. And through His Son, Jesus Christ, God offers us freedom from the bondage, guilt and pen
“Liberty: Our Precious Possession”
As we celebrate the 4th, let us remember liberty is the most precious possession God gives the world. He gives us a free will to choose this day whom we will serve. And through His Son, Jesus Christ, God offers us freedom from the bondage, guilt and penalty of sin. Jesus assured us: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:36) Therefore, July 4th in America is an important reminder of what we have in Christ because often liberty is not fully appreciated until it’s taken away.
Many of us are blind to the fact that Christians are experiencing an unprecedented level of persecution around the world, which is encroaching upon our own precious liberty. One need only read the newspaper or listen to friends to know just how bad things are getting in the world. This should be a “wake up call” to Christians everywhere, my friends. In the face of persecution around the world, we need to know what God would have us do to preserve our religious liberty. But the cost of religious liberty does not come or remain without a price.
There is a saying that America will be “The Land of the Free” only as long as it is “The Home of the Brave.” Our freedom in Christ cost God the Father His only Son, it cost God the Son the Cross of Calvary and it cost many faithful followers of Christ through the centuries the ultimate sacrifice. A review of Hebrews chapter 11, the great faith chapter, would quickly remind us of this truth.
In Galatians 5, Paul was writing this passage of Scripture to a group of Christians who were experiencing their own persecution and loss of liberty. In verse one, Paul admonishes them to: “… keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” As he speaks to them, he brings out four realities in which we must stand firm to preserve our precious possession of liberty:
FIRST, WE MUST STAND FIRM IN FAITH. Paul writes in Galatians 5:2-4, “Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Here Paul reminds the Galatian Christians of what they face if they turn back from their confidence in the completeness of Jesus’ sacrifice. He says, “Christ will be of no benefit to you.” This is not about the loss of salvation. The Bible makes clear that salvation, once obtained, is permanent. What Paul is talking about here is that those who turn back to the law for justification have placed themselves under obligation “to keep the whole law.” They have resumed a burden of perfection that is impossible to achieve. They are saying in their heart that Jesus is not enough and His grace is not sufficient.
You cannot mix works with grace, otherwise, it is not grace—God’s grace is sufficient. The result of such a mix is a life of frustration over spiritual failure, something from which many turn to Christ to be freed. It is inconceivable that anyone would consider slipping his soul back into that shackle. Consider then, what this means for Christians under persecution. They are under tremendous pressure to deny their faith, yet to do so severs them from Christ (vs. 4). To be severed from Christ means to make Him “inactive or idle” in your life and it robs you of one of the great gifts of salvation—freedom from the shackles of manmade religion and all its emptiness. For them, as well as us, this is an unthinkable option if we are going to preserve religious liberty. We must stand firm in faith!
Second, to preserve religious liberty, WE MUST STAND FIRM AGAINST FOES. Listen to Paul’s words in verse 10: “I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.” Jesus said not to be surprised if the world hates you, because it hated him. (Jn. 15:18-19) But, God takes note of the persecution of Christians, and He will hold the persecutor accountable for every act. This is true whether that persecution comes from within the church or from forces outside. Paul turns this “one” over to the Lord. He has confidence the Lord will handle him. Remember, if Christ does not bear a person’s judgment, the person does. It doesn’t matter how religious, how important or how influential the person is—without the blood of Jesus covering the person’s sins, he has no influence with God and bears his own judgment.