America has always been the shining city on the hill, a visible and real outpost for freedom, its protection, and exercise. Today, however, with our contemporary crisis-after-crisis and continual chaos within chaos, Christians in the west who are aware of history see that the tide is turning. We are at a pivotal point. Our nation is slowly becoming a product of communism, confusion, and corruption. We are getting further away from our title as the Worldwide Defenders of Freedom.
We no longer associate with the founding principles of our nation. In fact, they are foreign to us. But there is a simple solution. American Christians must investigate and come to know again our basic and fundamental defining principles. If America wants to maintain its status as the Worldwide Defender of Freedom, we surely must know what freedom is!
If you ask any random American on the street what freedom means to them, they will most likely say “the ability to do whatever I want.” Let’s bring this definition under a spotlight and evaluate it. I believe that this definition is flawed, narrow, and actually unbiblical.
Since America was founded as a Christian nation, we must dig in the Bible to uncover what it says about freedom if we are to once again understand the meaning of freedom within the American context.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1.
This verse tells us, among other things, that freedom for its own sake is enough to justify us striving for it. And Christ has made freedom attainable. After we accept Christ as our Savior, we will receive freedom – not freedom from the world, but the beginning of freedom from sin and thus freedom within this world.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24.
This verse tells us explicitly that we do not have the capability to serve two masters: if one were to replace the word “money” with anything else, the principle remains true. We have only the capability to serve one thing. More on this later.
“So, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32.
We see here that Jesus says the truth will set you free. A strong and solid foundation of abiding in “my word” or the truth of Christ, will allow the believer the freedom that we crave. Freedom is grounded in truth. Freedom is a product of believing and following Jesus.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13.
This verse tells us that in Christ, we can be free and are called to be free. It warns against the misuse of freedom to follow the desires of our fallen nature, and to satisfy the wants of our flesh. It also prompts us to utilize our freedom to do what we ought to do for others. Again, freedom in Christ is freedom from sin!
If we choose to serve the self with our freedom, we fail to serve Christ. As Matthew 6 warns “nobody can serve two masters.” When given the opportunity, a Christian should strive to serve Christ with the freedom we have received through Him, so we are no longer a slave to the misuse of freedom. Without serving Christ, we become a slave to our own desires. Whether those desires be pornography, drugs, sex, other people, money or things of the like, if our “god” is ourselves and our definition of freedom is “to do whatever I want” then we will inevitably serve those desires.
As fallen human beings, it is certain that we will always choose the thing that makes us feel good, rather than what we ought to pursue. The societal consequence of people “doing whatever they want” with our illusion of freedom is that moral standards devolve. Moral decay sets us in a place of dependence. We grow weak and our moral standards slip; we become slaves to our own sinful desires.
Is this the type of “freedom” the founders had in mind? John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Surely Adams is correct. The freedom our Constitution protects can only be upheld by people with high standards of morality and religion.
If Americans want to halt the downward spiral of abuse of freedom, we must turn to a place of moral standards and a true definition of freedom. Christians must insist on the definition of freedom being derived from Galatians 5:13:
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”