So, here is it, the 4th of July 2009. This is a day that Americans celebrate their Independence from a repressive and hurtful monarchy. This is a day that Americans can take a moment to enjoy and appreciate their freedoms that so many citizens on this vast planet Earth do not have. As I attempt to do that, I have never felt more enslaved as a citizen. I cannot even celebrate by shooting fireworks without fearing that I will be disobeying some ordinance. Yes, that is a minor thing but if I were truly “FREE,” I would be allowed to show my appreciation in any way I felt necessary and share my joy in any form of my choosing. Wake up Americans!!!! You are not free at all. You are all bound by jobs, taxes, laws, and, even worse, a virtual plethora of self-made bonds. In our “pursuit of happiness,” we have tied ourselves so tightly to the constraints of this world that there is likely no escape (outside of death itself, and then you get taxed for dying).
I still believe that as of this date, the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth and I am grateful for the civil liberties that I am afforded. However, I give credit to God for these liberties and opportunities that I so often take for granted, not a current president, not a senator, and not the “founding fathers.” God alone deserves the credit and someday His reasoning for choosing this nation, these people, myself and family to enjoy these liberties will be revealed. Until then, all credit goes to Him. It is Christ who is my Independence and in my study of scripture (man I wish I could put “daily” ahead of “study of scripture”) I am reminded that since Christ has died for me, everyday of my life is my Independence day. I am free of past sins, free of man’s judgment, free of legalism, and free of any dependence on man to learn the will of God. Everyday in my life should be a celebration and recognition of the day in which all mankind was given the unalienable right to receive Independence. Christ set us all free through His willingness to die on the cross.
Sadly, as I sit and evaluate the Christian landscape in America, I see many people proclaiming Christianity who don’t seem to be living in the same freedom which I do. These are the people who are tied to a set of ideas that they are no longer living independently. These people have chosen to bind themselves to the thoughts of men and movements that remove all Christian liberty from their lives and who now are afraid to step in their own directions toward Christ without first checking with those who are part of the same ideology. They may no longer feel bound by sin but rather they are bound by ideologies. Conservative or liberal, republican or democrat, nationalist or fascist, the list is long . Of course, these are large ideologies but off hand you can probably think of several small or grass-root ideologies that are around you currently.
It is not my place to say which ideologies are right and which are wrong. They all seem to have one common denominator: In order to be a part of that movement you will have to abandon something you held to be true or, and even worse in my opinion, someone who does not agree with your new thinking. That is fine in all aspects but one. If you are forced to abandon true and sound Biblical teaching in order to fully consider yourself a “devout” member of that ideology, then you are headed for trouble. If you find yourself having to internally argue with yourself over whether scripture really supports those thoughts or beliefs, you are abandoning the Independence given you by Christ. If you catch yourself checking scripture with a man’s teaching rather than the opposite, you have tied yourself to an ideology outside of Jesus. If you, as a man of a house, are allowing others to tell you how to run that house, then guess what, you aren’t the head of your house, some other man and his ideology is. If you find yourself supporting race over grace, I am praying for you. If you find yourself insulting or hurting the innocent or hear your “leaders” doing likewise, then what you espouse steps out of Christianity and you can deem yourself an ideologue. If you find the only way to support your beliefs lies solely in the life and laws of Moses and not in the life and grace of Christ, turn toward Christ’s freedom. Sadly, and most importantly, if you catch yourself wondering if you have done enough for Christ (regardless of who has told you that you might haven’t), then you have now swallowed exactly what Satan wants you to and you. Freedom gone.
Paul, once an ideologue who believed that what He was doing would be deemed worthy by God, had staunch words for those who allow themselves to be tied to legalism. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 3: 12Since we have such a hope,“we are very bold, 13not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, THERE IS FREEDOM (emphasis added). 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
I thank God that the veil of ideology and Mosaic law has been lifted from my face and that I am so invited to dwell in Christ’s gift of freedom that He has bestowed upon me. I thank God that there is no ideology in scripture, only freedom that comes from trusting in God’s atoning sacrifice of His son and that I can boldly live my life by the truth that has been placed inside of me by God through His scripture. I need no man to interpret it for me. I need no man to tell me what I have read is right. I am free. Happy Independence day to me and to all my fellow Christians who are trusting not in man and self but in Christ’s blood.