God-Given Freedom – Greg Albrecht
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.—Galatians 5:1-6
The history of humanity is a struggle for freedom. The word freedom, and the idea behind it begs for further explanation. Freedom of what? Freedom from what? What kind of freedom? There are many kinds of freedom.
July 1 is Canada Day, when Canadians celebrate their national freedom as a sovereign nation, and on July 4 the United States does the same. We celebrate that we are free from any foreign power telling us how to live our lives. We celebrate a unique (and it is unique in human history) degree of freedom—guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion. These are truths that we hold to be self-evident.
But of all the freedoms we can have, freedom in Christ should be the most cherished and most prized because it trumps all other freedoms. One can have political and economic freedom but remain enslaved to false religion. One can live in a free country but still be bound in a spiritual prison.
I don’t consider myself to be a religious person. I used to be, but I am now free in Christ, and I am free from religion. I am a Christian, but I am essentially irreligious. I realize that neither of my grandmothers, if they were alive, would be happy to hear me say this, but at least one of my grandfathers would.
My maternal grandfather escaped from what he called the “old country.” Almost 100 years ago he ran away from the old country of Europe—Germany and the Ukraine—and he didn’t want anything to do with what he left behind. He and his family suffered a great deal at the hands of religion, and he wanted none of it when he settled down in a
small town in Kansas. He, and many others, sacrificed everything so that they could live in a country that offered freedom FROM religion.