Be free, indeed with Jesus Christ

Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.

The Fourth of July, as we know, is a national holiday where people all over the country become fixated on both individual and mass celebrations of this holiday, also known as Independence Day.

We know that people celebrate this day in many different ways. We celebrate that time in American history when our then-young country became free of domination by the British, free from tyranny and oppression, and because of this, set about to establish what we now know as the United States of America.

Let us now look further at this word, “free.”

The dictionary defines “free” as “not imprisoned or enslaved, or at liberty; not controlled by obligation or the will of another.” Finally, we can define this term in this way: not subject to a specified condition.

On the other side of this, we can also examine the definition of a slave, which is defined as “one bound in servitude or submissive or subject to a person or outside influence.”

We have many freedoms that were established by the U.S. Constitution, including, among other freedoms, the freedom to worship however we want and to whatever God we want, which brings me to the main point of my column today.

My focus here is not about freedom from historical, physical, financial or other standpoints. As a pastor, I want to share with you about how, if you truly desire, you can obtain freedom that can have a lasting and profound effect on you for the rest of your life.

I'm talking about freedom from the yoke or bondage of sin that may have a stronghold on you.

In St. John 8:28-36, Jesus teaches the people about real freedom, and places a special emphasis on what he means. Christ is not just teaching about being free, but being “free, indeed.”

What this means is a kind of freedom that the government cannot provide, the courts cannot provide, nor can any “powers that be” provide the kind of freedom that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

With this freedom, we will no longer be unstable and unsteady on a daily basis and going against God's will and word. We won't be constantly running around in proverbial circles not knowing our right from our left or daytime from nighttime.

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.” Paul wrote in Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.”

I want to remind you of the words of one of my favorite hymns: “Shackled by a heavy burden, beneath a load of guilt and shame. Then the hand of Jesus touched me, and now I am no longer the same. He touched me. O, He touched me, and O the joy that floods my soul. Something happened, and now I know, he touched me and made me whole.”

I say to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, be glad that you are not just free, as we define it on this Fourth of July, but be glad that on this holiday, that if you are not already, you have a blessed opportunity to be spiritually free from the bondage of sin.

The Rev. Milford Lewis Griner is senior pastor of Pleasant Plain United Methodist Church in Jonesville.

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