EnJOYing Freedom in Christ

Written by Mark Wickersham, ECS Director of Spiritual Formation

Fourth of July is just around the corner, and countless red-blooded Americans will celebrate our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. From San Francisco to New York, we’ll have pitch-ins, parades, and pyrotechnic displays of grand proportions. Although I’m not a huge fan of all the noise, crowds, and fireworks debris, I enjoy the food and fellowship. Our country is far from perfect and the political polarization in America is at an all-time high; however, there is still so much God has blessed us with. As the son of a Navy veteran who exposed me to unique and diverse cultures, I was always taught to be thankful we are Americans. Consider these facts:

1. We don’t face the armed conflicts that numerous African and Middle Eastern nations do on an everyday basis.

2. Travel advisory levels in America pale in comparison to much of the world. 

3. Sharing your faith in North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, and numerous other countries is illegal, but we can assemble freely at church on Sundays. 

4. Although too many of us are overly critical of our government and can be complete jerks, I’m thankful we can share all our views, unlike many nations worldwide. Government criticism in many nations can get you locked up or even killed.   

5. Despite our rising cost of living, we are still the go-to place for hardworking people looking to escape poverty. Few countries have our kind of wealth.

While I am grateful to live in a rich and relatively peaceful country with the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition, having freedom in Christ is far greater. 

Freedom in Christ means freedom from the penalty, power, and presence of sin. I don’t have to put my head down in shame for my past sins. Because of Christ, I’m a new creation sinning less and becoming more like Him. I can put my head up praising my Father for helping me fight sin through His Spirit. And when it’s all said and done, because of Christ, I will be in a beautiful, perfect, and sinless Heaven.

Freedom in Christ is freedom from the Old Covenant law and people-pleasing. Christianity isn’t a set of dos and don’ts where you try to win the favor of your fellow men. When you truly know God, you have a relationship with Him and follow Him in faith alone based on Christ alone. You have an audience of One and desire to bring God all the glory alone. That’s what freedom in Christ does. 

Freedom in Christ is the freedom to enJOY God with fellow believers and glorify Him forever. Life is not meant to be lived alone. When you come to know Christ, you join a family of believers who you do life with. Life can be hard, but through Christ, we can have peace and joy regardless of the circumstances. Christian freedom is about enJOYing God now and forever with others.

Do you have this freedom in Christ? Do others clearly see that? This Fourth of July, let’s not just remember the courage and faith our founding fathers had in their pursuit of liberty, let’s remember what our Heavenly Father gave us and the sacrifice of His one and only Son. Let’s enJOY freedom in Christ.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2