Will We Always Be Free?

Happy 4th of July! As a kid I always looked forward to this day—second only to Christmas. Why? At first, it was simply for the celebration itself. It was a time to gather with friends and family, eat great food, play games, and take in colorful fireworks.


            I still do enjoy the 4th but for deeper reasons now. I am so grateful for all the freedoms that our nation affords us, particularly our freedom of religion. Until 1776, this and the other freedoms we have come to hold so dear existed nowhere in all the world, and this is no exaggeration. It is also not an exaggeration to say that we are quickly losing not only our freedom of religion but all of our other freedoms as well. How is this happening? And one wonders, “Can this attrition be halted in any way?” 


            A few years ago, I read a great book by a Christian philosopher and social commentator, Oz Guinness, who had some hopeful answers. The name of his book was A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future. In an interview coving his book he pinpoints our problem. He shared:


“The greatest enemy of freedom is freedom. Now the reason for that paradox        is that freedom requires an order, or a framework, and the only appropriate             

            framework for freedom is self-restraint, and yet self-restraint is precisely what

            freedom undermines when it flourishes. You’ve really got to consider, what is

            ordered freedom—in other words, a framework of freedom?  Put differently,

            freedom is not just negative, freedom from, it is positive too, which means

            freedom to be or freedom for, but that means you need to know who you’re

            supposed to be.”


            Isn’t that interesting? Note that Guinness didn’t say “want to be” but “supposed to be!” There must be a standard in other words, some kind of shared absolute that we all embrace in order to govern our lives, both individually and as a society. Our founding fathers understood this very well. They began with God, the God of the Bible. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 


            Freedom begins with God. Doesn’t it stand to reason then that God might have something to say concerning how we are to enjoy these rights, including liberty, otherwise known as freedom?  So in a Christian understanding, Jesus says “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” “That,” insists Guinness, “is ordered freedom.” 


            But what truth is Jesus talking about?  We need to look at the preceding verse which reads: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NIV) 


            The only thing that will restore our nation and insure our freedoms is if as a whole

we return to the word and way of Jesus, teach them to our children, and encourage those within our spheres of influence to embrace the same. This we can and must do!


In Him, Pastor Paul