Memorial Day

photo credit: Vjeran Pavic, CC BY-ND
photo credit: Vjeran Pavic, CC BY-ND

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

— quote from Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Free In Christ

I didn’t realize until I saw this post still in drafts that there wasn’t a Saturday post last week. Oops. Well, here it is now.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free …

“Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32, 34-36)

What happens once we are made free from sin? Some people (especially those in Western cultures, I suspect) tend to think of freedom as license to do whatever they want. This is not what is meant by the freedom that we are given in Christ.

And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Rom. 6:18)

The Bible reveals that we have only two options: service to sin or service to God. Though we are “not under law but under grace,” that does not give us license to disobey. Under the New Covenant, God’s commandments are still in effect, and He requires obedience from those who love Him (John 14:15, 21).

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Rom. 6:15-17)

"Free In Christ" marissabaker.wordpress.comThis does not mean we can earn eternal life by obedience — it is a free gift from God (Rom. 6:23). However, we can show by disobedient actions that we refuse to accept His gift. When we do that, it’s as if someone pulled us from a burning building and said, “Don’t go back in there,” and instead of obeying we marched right back inside because we thought the heat felt good.

Once we have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, we have to respond by walking not “according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). We will surely slip and fall, but we have to stop willfully sinning and make a genuine effort to change and obey. The habit of our life has to become Christ-imitating instead of sinful.

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men — as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. (1 Pet. 2:15-16)