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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Spiritual Outlook: Let freedom ring and reign

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“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 KJV

Freedom is an innate, core compulsion within the human heart from restraints. Freedom when guided by ethics results in productive living. Freedom when prompted by selfish or sinful motives results in prodigal living, abusing the liberty to be experienced through freedom rightly sought.

Every parent has faced this compulsive desire for freedom in their offspring at some point in their rearing from childhood to adulthood. In the Garden of Eden, the fall of humankind was an expression of wanting to be freed from God’s restrictive prohibition of eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, thereby becoming independent from the creator (Gen. 2:17; 3:1-13).

Because of oppressive regimes and suppressive rules, historically in our country there have been movements striving for freedom from oppression, and actions to minimize suppressive mechanisms.

The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 declared that the enslaved in Confederate territory were to be freed forever. Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man in 1955 sparked the pivotal civil rights movement of the Montgomery Bus Boycott lasting 381 days, in which many African American adults walked to work and children walked to school. In essence this was a walk for freedom. In the early 1960s, the “Freedom Riders” civil rights activists challenged the failed enforcement of interstate bus travel laws.

The 1963 March on Washington was a rally for jobs and freedom. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared in his “I Have a Dream” speech, “From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring … we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children … will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”

Presently, communities of color are yet contending for freedom from police brutality. We are affected by the Supreme Court’s recent overturn of parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and suppressive restrictions of this civil right by some state legislators following the 2020 presidential election. Compounding matters is the political aversion of some politicians to correct these issues by efforts to derail the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act.

On July 4, Americans will celebrate Independence Day, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. John Adams wrote, “[This] will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It should be solemnized with pomp and parade … from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

All the aforementioned efforts for the good of freedom are extremely important. Yet to me, there is another freedom, a greater liberty over all — the freedom one receives through Jesus Christ.

This freedom is deliverance from the yoke of religious legalism and the bondage of sin. We are commanded to not let sin reign in our lives (Rom. 6:12). Rather, we are to stand firm and live in the liberty of the Lord, having been made free from sin and legalism (Rom. 6:18, 22; 8:2; 1 Cor. 3:17; Gal 5:1). We are to let this freedom ring and reign in our lives. This is exclusively true freedom, a distinctive spiritual blessing of the economy of God’s grace, resulting from redemption found only in Jesus Christ.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36 NLT

Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III is pastor of Citadel of Faith Church of God in Christ. Contact him via email at jabeaven@gmail.com or Twitter @jbeaven.

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