When American colonists came to a crossroads of choosing resistance to an oppressive king or becoming a nation unto themselves, Patrick Henry, one of the forefathers of the United States, uttered his timeless words, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” The liberty of which he spoke at that time was outward freedom from oppression and tyranny, but there is another form of liberty which transcends man’s outward conditions. This liberty is highlighted in 2 Corinthians 3–
15But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Wherever God’s Holy Spirit resides in the hearts of men through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that is where true liberty reigns. This is how man experiences freedom of his soul and spirit which no man can take away from him. It is independent of the external, physical conditions that any person may find themselves in. When we embrace such liberty, it is manifested in many ways, and here are a few of them:
- Freedom from bondage to sin. As Jesus said in John 8, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. Sin dictates the actions of a person in bondage and they carry out what their sin commands them to do, whether it’s lying or cursing someone out or worse. Whether in this life or the next, bondage to sin results in being punished and missing out on eternal blessings. However, those who choose true liberty shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. [Mark 10:30]
- Freedom of a clear conscience. Trusting in the Lord Jesus cleanses us spiritually and gives us right standing with God. He wiped clean our record of offenses, blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross at Jesus’ crucifixion [Colossians 2:14]. So now we have the answer of a good conscience toward God [1 Peter 3:21].
- Freedom from mindless religious rituals. Since we know our slate has been wiped clean with God, we now realize that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ [Galatians 2:16]. This sets us apart from all religions on the face of the earth. No amount of observing rituals–whether they be holidays or burning incense or reciting mindless mantras to appease an angry god–can bring us true liberty. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost [Titus 3:5].
- Freedom from the fear of death. Our clear conscience with God gives us the confidence of knowing what is down the road for us when death comes a-knockin’ on our door if we truly have faith in what God says in his word. Our Lord Jesus came so that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, [Hebrews 2:14-15]. We were once in bondage to the fear of death hanging over our lives, but now we have the hope of eternal life in this life and in the life to come. No other religion can claim this. How do we know? Because we are surrounded by the reliable testimony of witnesses who have been raised from the dead who have given us a glimpse of the Lord Jesus and what he has waiting for us when we pass on from this life.
So this is the key to why people continue to come to Christ even when they are surrounded by people who want to take the lives of Christians. The genuine liberty that comes from confessing Christ as Lord cannot compare to the threats and fear that man attempts to force on them. As saints of the living God, let’s enjoy our liberty to the fullest in our short life on this earth as we pave the way to our eternal home.
posted by Harry A. Gaylord