Freedom

Freedom isn’t free, the now common slogan says, and true freedom isn’t just physical freedom. As we celebrate 130 years of American independence, it is good to remember these principles.

Our freedom has been costly, but the price has been paid, and is being paid daily. That is true spiritually and politically, although humanists and many liberals will deny both.

To the humanist, people are inherently good unless driven toward bad or deprived in some way, and people are naturally free from sinfulness. As Christians, we understand that people are inherently sinful, even depraved, and that freedom from the oppression that comes with sin has to be purchased. Our souls must be purchased, but we have nothing to pay the price. The only currency that God will accept is the blood of the lamb without blemish, the Lamb of God. The price of spiritual freedom is the blood of Christ.

Politically, liberals believe that if we are nice to everyone and meet their needs, everyone will get along and all the people of the world will be free. The price of freedom, they say, is for people to give up their selfishness and be good to each other. The only reason there is war, the liberals say, is because nations such as the United States are selfish bullies that want to impose themselves on others.

Those who understand human nature recognize that we can never give enough away to deal with the evil in the dark hearts of the world (and in our own country). Freedom has to be protected, at times at a heavy price of blood and life.

In our free nation, however, we are surrounded by people who are not free. Walk through the mall and count the people who appear to have free spirits, who demonstrate joy. Turn on the television and watch for people who appreciate a free nation. Consider your family and think about relatives who are free in the midst of the burdens of life.

Freedom is not a physical position as much as it is a spiritual condition. This came to mind again during Sunday services yesterday when a soloist sang the great song “Free,” by Steven Curtis Chapman. One of the joys of my career was working for and achieving an agreement between Chapman and Prison Fellowship—where I was an executive at the time—for Chapman to visit prisons and promote Prison Fellowship’s ministry, and for PF to help support his Heaven in the Real World album and tour (1996). As a result of this agreement and after one of Chapman’s visits to death row, he wrote Free. It reflects the truth you see often among death row inmates—they are free while under the sentence of physical death.

FREE, by Steven Curtis Chapman

The sun was beating down inside the walls of stone and razor wire
As we made our way across the prison yard
I felt my heart begin to race as we drew nearer to the place
Where they say that death is waiting in the dark
The slamming doors of iron echoed through the halls
Where despair holds life within its cruel claws
But then I met a man who’s face seemed so strangely out of place
A blinding light of hope was shining in his eyes
And with repentance in his voice he told me of his tragic choice
That led him to this place where he must pay the price
But then his voice grew strong as he began to tell
About the One he said had rescued him from hell, he said…
I’m free, yeah, oh, I have been forgiven
God’s love has taken off my chains and given me these wings
And I’m free, yeah, yeah, and the freedom I’ve been given
Is something that not even death can take away from me
Because I’m free
Jesus set me free
We said a prayed and said goodbye and tears began to fill my eyes
As I stepped back out into the blinding sun
And even as I drove away I found that I could not escape
The way he spoke of what the grace of God had done
I thought about how sin had sentenced us to die
And how God gave His only Son so you and I could say…
And if the Son has set you free,
Oh, if the Son has set you free
Then you are free indeed,
Oh, You are really free
If the Son has set you free,
Oh, if the Son has set you free
Then you are free, really, really free
Oh, we’re free, yearh, oh, we have been forgiven
God’s grace has broken every chain and given us these wings
And we’re free, yeah, yeah, and the freedom we’ve been given
Is something that not even death can take from you and me
Because we’re free, yeah, the freedom we’ve been given
Is something that not even death can take from you and me
Because we’re free, oh, we’re free
We are free, we are free
The Son has set us free
If the Son has set you free
You are free indeed

–Jim Jewell

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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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