LET FREEDOM RING
By Steve Bietz
The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, is an annual American holiday that falls on, you guessed it, the 4th of July. Now you may be planning a trip to see the best fireworks in your area or shopping for great sales that the stores often promote over the 4th of July, but the day should remind us about freedom. One of the greatest freedoms our founding fathers put down on paper is the freedom to worship as our own conscience dictates.
On one occasion, Jesus got into an intense exchange with the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus and the Scribes and Pharisees are discussing fatherhood. The earthly dad of Jesus comes up as well as Abraham the Father of the Jews. And in the middle of this conversation, Jesus says: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) Now to you and me that may not appear to be a controversial comment at all. But the answer from the scribes and Pharisees tells us otherwise. Look at their response: “They answered Him, we are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, “You will be made free?” (John 8:33) Wait…What? Never been in bondage? Not in bondage to Egypt? Not in bondage to Assyria? Not in bondage to Babylon? Not in bondage to Rome? The better statement would have been, when have you not been in captivity? Talk about selective memory. The Scribes and Pharisees suggesting that they have never been captives are downright laughable if it had not been so pitiful.
Now Jesus basically gives them a pass on their selective memory and goes to the main point. Jesus states that your captivity is deeper than you know. Jesus says gentlemen you are free, the Son shall make you free indeed. And the Scribes and Pharisees respond with, what do we need to be free from, free from what? You and I understand that the Lord is trying to show how they are captured in the sin problem.
The Jews thought, because of their birth and all their laws of traditions, that they were not really in that bad of shape when it came to the sin problem. They had come to believe, falsely, that in the waters of sin, they were in the shallow end. Their sins were so shallow that the Jews believed that their elaborate righteousness by works system actually saved them. When Jesus tells the Jews of His day in Palestine that He has come to save them from sin, they respond, but we are not drowning in sin, we are not in the deep end of sin, we are in the shallow end and so we can be our own lifeguards. I would hope we know better. I would hope that freedom from the bondage of sin is something we understand that we can not save ourselves from. We need that Redeemer Lifeguard to save us.
As you and I celebrate America’s Freedom, may we also celebrate that Jesus promises us even greater freedom. The Son, He has made us free!
Blue Ridge Christian News covers Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, Madison County, in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.