Life with Jesus

Freedom: The Introduction

What the heck is freedom? Here in good ole’ ‘Merica, we tend to think that freedom means we can vote and write about politics in newspapers and we can go to church. Sadly, I think we’ve so closely associated freedom with politics that when we think about spiritual freedom, we only think about it in political terms.

The Bible talks about freedom in Christ. I used to think (because how it was explained to me) that this means that we are free from the consequences of our sinful nature. Well, that’s definitely not a bad thing and it’s not really wrong, but to see freedom in Christ exclusively as that is severely limiting. It’s much more.

I know alot of people who are Christians who think that the Bible is a book of rules and if you follow those rules, then you will go to heaven. No offense, but if I wasn’t already a Christian, there is no way you could get me to follow a religion that handed you a rule book, told you to memorize them, and then follow them or you’ll go to hell. Here’s a newsflash: we can’t follow all the rules. My friend Eric says that Christians pick and choose what rules they want to follow (for instance, how many of you really keep the Sabbath holy [i don’t] AND how many times have you seen parents use “Honor thy mother and father” as leverage for good behavior from their kids?). My friend Eric is right. If Christianity if truly about following all the rules, we are doing a poor job.

So Christ came and he didn’t abolish the Old Testament, he fulfilled it. This means that we’re not really under the rule system. I still don’t completely grasp what this means but let me tell you what I’m learning about it.

Christ healed on the Sabbath. Jesus associated with lepers and sinners. The disciples picked wheat on the Sabbath. Jesus did not follow all the rules. GASP. When Christ entered the world, we were given a new Rulebook to follow and this one is not listed in the Bible necessarily. I find that as I strive to truly follow Christ, I am finding freedom from things that made me guilty in the past. Instead of going to the church service today, I went and found someone who just needed to talk. I know. I didn’t go and hear the sermon and sing the songs. By modern day standards, I didn’t keep the Sabbath “holy” as we tend to keep it “holy”. Instead, I got to encourage and listen and love. I am finding freedom in the fact that I am not required to participate in our man made religion in order to truly follow Christ.

I was talking with friends yesterday about this issue. We realized that because we underestimate children and their ability to understand freedom in Christ, we dumb it down and teach them general rules to follow and then we forget to teach them about real freedom in Christ when we feel that they are old enough. We have a whole bunch of church goers who haven’t really changed their view of Christ since they were five. I am not mad or dissappointed in these people. I am sorry for them.

We need to realize that Christ didn’t come to add on to the laws of Moses. He came for a greater and more freeing purpose. If we have a co-worker who needs love and can only go to breakfast on Sunday morning, I do not think that it is Christlike to say “Oh, well I can’t do it then. I have to go to church.” Be the Church. In order to do that, we must free ourselves from this fear and guilt that we have connected to breaking the rules.

Freedom is more than what we make it. More later.

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