This weekend has been all about freedom and liberty. From red, white, and blue swim shorts, to fireworks exploding in the air, freedom has been on parade, and it should be, because free people should celebrate their freedom.
But what is freedom?
For “we the people”, freedom began as an idea in the minds and hearts of our founding fathers, that turned into a new Republic like the world had not yet seen. In this new land of Liberty, there would be no king or dictator, but rather leadership would come from the people, for the people. It would be a new form of government where people would be free from tyranny, free to enjoy rights and liberties given by their Creator alone.
Today, many will celebrate this idea of freedom in a way that would make our founders nauseated. For many, American freedom means doing whatever you want to do. Freedom is seen as a license to just be you, no matter how that real “you” affects those around you or the society as a whole.
In this new form of “freedom”, the whole category of sin is dismissed, because calling something sin would infringe on someone else’s freedom. So many will celebrate American freedom this weekend as the ability to do whatever you want, all the time, without any restraints.
But what happens when a free self-governing people, do whatever they want to do all the time? How does that self-governing nation survive, if it’s own self-governing people can’t even govern or restrain themselves?
This is the new challenge facing America. With the erosion of religion and virtue (there’s a lost word), how can our form of self-government work if we have lost the ability to self-govern ourselves. Put bluntly, how can non-virtuous people hope to build or maintain a virtuous nations that will last for generations to come? They can’t.
So how can America remain and thrive as a free nation? She must first be filled with free people. But not free in the sense that people are able to do whatever they want, but free in the sense people are able to do what they should toward God and neighbor. This is true freedom, and this type of freedom only comes through the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to set us truly free.
You see, freedom is not rewriting our laws to justify our lawlessness. Freedom is coming to the one who fulfilled the law for us, and offers us His righteousness as a free gift. And then with new hearts, we begin to walk in step with the law, rather than against it. And walking that path is where real freedom is found. Not freedom to be the real you, but freedom to be something even better.