When I hear the word freedom, I think of the refrain of a popular folk song of the 1960's. The song is "Me and Bobby McGee" and the refrain is "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loss." This is a fatalistic approach to life but yet it is an approach that continues to be embraced by many people today. The biblical approach is far different from this attitude.
One of the most profound examples of freedom in the Bible is Leviticus 25:10 (KJV) which reads: "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." The word here is liberty rather than freedom but the meaning is the same. It was God's plan that people experience freedom from bondage and he set up a system that would allow his people to be free from both debt and loss of their land and their personal freedom. At the end of 50 years this happened automatically because it was part of the Levitical law. If you were an indentured servant, you were free. If you lost your family farm, you removed those that now were living on the property. If you were paying on a debt, that debt was cancelled.
How does this freedom manifest itself in today's world? Some people today celebrate when they retire a major debt. At this point they may declare themselves as being "debt free." But does that really make you debt free? In the 3rd chapter of Romans, the Bible declares that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Then later in the 6th chapter of Romans we are told that "the wages of sin is death." The Bible is telling us that we are in debt for our sins and we don't have the revenue to retire that debt so we are not free from the sin debt.
What is the price for freedom? The answer is perfection. None of us is perfect. So, are we all without hope? No, the verse that says, the wages of sin is death has a conjunction and that is the word "but." The rest of that verse is, "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
So, God has a gift for us that goes beyond the freedom that is won through the Old Testament law of the year of Jubilee. This is the salvation of our souls which is an eternal gift from God.
Without Christ we are forever lost in our sins. With Christ and his grace, we are made partakers of eternal life. This is real freedom. It goes far beyond "nothing left to loss", a refrain from a 60's folk song.
By Glen Sage, Interim Minister
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