Since the day of my birth I have enjoyed the cup-running-over goodness of a free country. It is not so for millions of others around the globe. Yet many who appear outwardly to us as victims of harsh rulers, and many are, still possess a joy and peace that confounds our understanding.
My daughter discovered this stark truth on a mission trip to Haiti during her high school years. The believers they met, though many were desperately poor, displayed faces lit by an internal joy because Jesus had set them free.
And free from what? In this more enlightened twenty-first century few think much of hell assuming it is nothing more than a fable. But just the possibility that it might exist was enough to motivate me to choose heaven, about which I also knew nothing, just two weeks after my 19th birthday.
Freedom today is most often thought of in political terms. But true freedom is an unbreakable relationship with the One who came to set us free from our sin, our brokenness, and our destiny with a hellish eternity. Freedom in Christ is not only for today on this planet but for a future freedom we cannot even imagine now, where, “there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.” (Rev 21:4)
As we rightly celebrate the many freedoms we still enjoy in our country, will you also give thanks abundantly for the freedom we have in Christ? Will you boldly talk to your children or friends or family members, with gentleness and grace, about the free offer of forgiveness in Christ? One day Jesus will return. Will you and yours be ready?
“Keep me in the freedom of experiencing thy salvation continually. Amen.”*
*Arthur Bennett,ed.,The Valley of Vision (Edinburgh:The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), page 101.