Bible resting on the American flag.
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Joshua Stevens, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice

This month we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day. We will see friends, family, and neighbors join in traditional festivities—from barbequing to watching baseball and setting off fireworks. Americans will join in as we remember breaking free from the chains of England and becoming a nation all our own. It is an excellent time to remember another freedom we have. This freedom was also bought by the blood of someone long ago who died so that we may be free. He did not die so we could vote, have freedom from housing soldiers, or have a fair and speedy trial, rather, he died so we may be reconciled to our Creator and Lord.

Paul writes in Galatians 5, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”1 Paul, of course, is talking about how faith in Christ has set us free from the law, which he talks about extensively in Romans. Not only that, but one of the main thrusts of Galatians is the emphasis on justification. In the context of the Bible, when we talk about justification, we mean to declare something righteous in the eyes of God. So, Paul is communicating that what makes us righteous is not works nor the law; it is Christ and Christ alone.

Many Christians hear this and think that it ends there. The ball game is over because Christ has secured victory for us; if we believe it, we will be in Heaven with him forever. And that’s not exactly wrong; it just misses the necessary context to make it wholly true. Faith is not passive, it is active. Hebrews 11 gives examples through the action of Abraham, who obeyed God, and Moses, who refused to be called the son of Pharoah. We know from the book of James that faith must be paired with actions. This is not to say that actions are a requisite for salvation but instead that they are the logical next step for one who has faith.

We see this in situations throughout life. You have faith that the chair will hold you up, so you sit down. The quarterback has faith that the receiver will catch the ball, so he throws it to him. The batter has faith that his bat will hit the ball over the wall, so he swings for the fences. The action comes because a reasonable belief in the faith precedes it. If this was not the case, the quarterback would not throw, the batter not swing, and you not sit.

So then, what is it Paul is trying to drive home here? He is reminding the church that we are justified by one means—Christ alone. While others insist we must work for our salvation, they are not only wrong but stand against the Gospel of Christ and His work on the cross.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” 2

As we think about our earthly freedom this month, let us remember our eternal freedom in Christ that we should strive to proclaim first and foremost. Let us love and share the gospel to bring others into the same freedom we have.

Will you pray with me?

            Lord, thank you for all you have given us, from our freedom today to our freedom in eternity. Thank you for keeping your holy hand over us, guiding us, and continuing a good work in us. As we continue this month, provide us opportunities to share who You are with others and how You have permanently altered our lives. Let us be a light to the world that guides others to reconciliation with you through Christ. Let us be humble, wise, and bold so that we may navigate this world’s issues and stay centered on the gospel. Above all, we align our will with Yours that we may accomplish all You have laid out before us, glorify You, and act as good and faithful servants. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.                                     

Bibliography

1 Crossway Bibles. (2001). The Holy Bible English Standard Version. Wheaton: Good News Publishers.

2 (Crossway Bibles, 2001), Galatians 5:13

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