Freedoms for Living
Everybody wants Freedom If there is one word that all people, no matter what their political inclinations agree with, it is the word FREEDOM. Even tyrants espouse it and claim to be working for it for their people!
The quest for freedom is one of the greatest motivating factors for people throughout the world. Armies fight for it; nations vote for it; individuals work for it. Throughout Ghana now a new wave of freedom is sweeping the country. People feel liberated in spite of attempts by thugs, crooks and thieves to foment fear and insecurity.
In Romans 6:15:22 scripture teaches us that ultimately, no one is really, ever, totally “free”. In the final analysis everyone either serves God or sin. Paul even uses the word “slaves” to describe people's relationship to sin or obedience. We are either slaves to righteousness or slaves to sin - Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness - Rom. 616.
What then does this mean to our understanding of the nature of freedom? To some freedom means “unrestricted action”. But is complete autonomy possible? It is true that there is self-rule and political self-determination. There are basic and fundamentals human rights, which assure us freedom but all these are limited. Real freedom, as the scriptures describe it is “change of masters” - being set free from slavery to sin in order to become slaves to righteousness.
True freedom comes when we accept Christ as the only One who is able to emancipate us from bondage to sin (Rom. 7:24-25). When Christ saves us, He enables us to do the things we could not do in and of ourselves - live in obedience to God's Law - Rom. 8:3-4. That is true freedom.
10 Commandment = 10 Freedoms
To some born again Christians, we are living under grace and not under the “law” and so we do not have to even consider any “body” of laws. It is true that we are living under grace but grace has come to liberate us - give us the freedom to live to please God by following His holy standards. When we walk by the Spirit - Gal. 5:16 we are obeying the spirit of the 10 commandments. When we walk in the Spirit, we experience powerful new freedoms to be the people God originally intended us to be. Let us look at the commandments one by one and see the new freedoms that God has given us through Christ.
1. You shall have no other gods before me Rather than thinking that God is too demanding of us, we ought to see God in a new light. God is our Helper - He has promised to be with us and to help us in all circumstances. Therefore, if we held on to Him we can find freedom from anxiety about our needs our future, our relationships, our well-being and our happiness - Matt. 6:25-34 & Phil. 4:6-7.
2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image All things are created by God and so we cannot use anything that He Himself has created to replicate Him. God is our Teacher and if we hold on to Him, we will learn what is true and avoid being talked into doing or following what is false.
3. You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain Taking the Name of the Lord in vain is not only swearing, but also using His Name in ways that do not really reflect who He is. God is our Friend - He cares for us, more than we even care for ourselves. If we hold on to Him, our prayers (that is our conversations with Him) will not be futile. We will not need to try to force God to help us nor invoke His Name in the pursuit of our own self-interest.
4. Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy If indeed we believe that we do not own ourselves and that we belong to God then we will accept that God is our Master. If we hold on to Him, we will find fulfillment. We will enjoy spending quality time with Him on the “day of rest”. We will not need to work ourselves to death to meet our needs.
5. Honour your father and mother Most of us forget that our parents are fallible human beings who also struggle to understand the world they live in. They try hard to harmonize their own needs with their responsibilities towards us their children. God is our Father in Heaven. He is perfect in love, faithfulness, in goodness and in kindness. If we hold on to Him we will experience His love. We need not be dismayed and disappointed and bound by the disappointments of our human relationship.
6. You shall not murder There is so much hatred around us and though many of us would never physically murder anyone, we definitely commit murder by the day through the words we hurl at each other. Slander, libel, lies, exaggerations, malicious gossip - all these constitute murder. God is our Protector. If we hold onto Him, we can find freedom from competitiveness with our neighbour and act with love towards one another.
7. You shall not commit adultery Our world's understanding of love is a poor copy of what God intends for us in intimate relationships. God is the Author of happiness. If we hold on to Him, we can find freedom to pursue true love rather than the caricatures of love promoted by our world's culture.
8. You shall not steal Contentment has become a rare commodity in our day. Instead, we are motivated by greed and avarice. God is our Provider. If we hold on to Him, we can learn to give - even in our need - instead of take. We can find freedom from worry about material well-being and instead work honestly with the abilities God has given us. Bribery is “stealing” and so is corruption.
9. You shall not bear false witness Because of envy, hatred, jealousy many find themselves saying things about people they know is not true. God is the Truth. If we hold on to Him, we can learn to speak the truth and engender trust. We will not read bad motives into everything that people do.
10. You shall not covet Covetousness is the basis of most of the sins we commit - adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, murder etc. The basis of covetousness is lust - we want something that does not belong to us and we want it now. God is the Giver of all good gifts. If we hold on to Him, we can find freedom from greed and instead live with generosity, compassion and self-respect.
End Piece Freedom is the prevailing cry of our world today. It is the overwhelming preoccupation of individuals and nations. God offers us freedom through Christ. True Christian freedom is Christlike freedom with no hint of legalism about it. True Christian freedom accepts God's absolute moral standards in the confidence that God our loving Father lives in us by His Spirit to help us to live in total freedom - obeying His will - Philip. 2:13: Not in your own strength for it is God who is all the while effectually at work in you - energizing and creating in you the power and desire - both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight (Amplified). For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him (New Living Translation). STAY BLESSED Remember to tune in to Sunny – Tuesdays 5:30am; Asempa – Sundays 5:30 & Unique – Saturdays 7:30pm for our radio bible study.