Summary: Today we celebrate our nation's freedom. Our forefathers sought freedom from England and drafted the Declaration of Independence. What about us? Why did we need to be set free, what set us free and why have we been set free?
WHY ARE WE FREE?
Today we celebrate our nation's freedom. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence was drafted. The colonists wanted to be declared free from Great Britain. They were getting tired of the taxes levied upon them as well as a few other rules and regulations that were put in place by King George III.
The settlers left England in the 17th century and crossed the Atlantic mainly in a quest for religious freedom, something which was a rare, almost non-existent privilege back in England as all people had to belong to the Church of England. They wanted to escape the religious persecution by the Puritans.
This is why they wanted to be free and they drafted the Declaration of Independence and representatives from all 13 colonies signed it. That's how they sought to establish their freedom. They wanted to be free so they could establish their own laws and government. This is why they wanted to be free, what they did to establish that freedom and what they were going to do with it.
What about us? Why did we need to be set free, what set us free and why have we been set free?
1) Why, who and how?
We needed to be set free because we are all sinners. Rom. 3:10-12, "As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
We might want to throw out some names of people who we think would be the exception to the rule-Mother Theresa, the Pope, my grandma, me. But Paul's emphasis makes it clear, 'there is no one righteous-not even one'. Then he follows it up with 'there is no one who does good-not even one'. No one is righteous, no one is good. That's a lot to take in?
Most people think they're basically good people. According to scripture; no one is. Jesus made that clear in Luke 18:18-19, "A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone."
Wait, not even Jesus was good? No, Jesus is good because he is God in the flesh; but apart from God no one is good. Jesus asked him why he called him good. Why do we think someone is good? Because they're kind, loving and generous? Having good qualities doesn't make someone spiritually good. There's only one way to be declared good in the eyes of God-perfection. What?
Think about it-God is the only one who is perfect. So if God is the only one who is good then good, in this case, equals perfection. Jesus came to preach the good news. Is the gospel flawed in some way? Surely not-it's perfect. Why are we not good? Because of sin. Paul said a little later in vs. 23 that we have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.
So how are we going to be perfect if we're imperfect through sin? That's where Jesus comes in. His sacrifice is the only way we can be good. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life. no one comes to the Father but through me." When Paul said no one, he meant no one. When Jesus says no one, he meant no one. The only way we can be right with God is to accept what Jesus did to save us.
John 8:31-36, "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
When Jesus said 'everyone who sins' he isn't implying that there are some who haven't; otherwise he would be going against what Paul said in Romans and we know he's not going to do that. The Jews thought their connection to Abraham, their Jewish lineage was what made them free. But Jesus let them know the only way they would truly be free was if he set them free.
People today think various things make them free. Their idea that they're a good person, they were baptized as a baby and perhaps made their confirmation. Or even when they're baptized later as an adult. But a one-time decision doesn't make us heaven-bound. Jesus said in Matt. 7 it's not the ones who call him Lord that will inherit the kingdom of heaven but only the ones who do God's will.