This post was written by Doug McDaniel, a former pastor and current BCC counselor. He counsels in our Northwest Indiana offices and online via Skype.
The 4th of July, our Independence Day, gives us two words, freedom and independence, that describe our understanding of precious liberty from tyranny. Yet, the words can be problematic.
In the light of the indiscretions of some police and demonstrators these past months we must agree that freedom does not mean we have the right to do as you please. Freedom without responsibility is not true freedom because it leads to the oppression of others.
Also, independence, without obligations forces us into a self-righteousness that pits us against anyone who would disagree with us. How, then, should we celebrate these important words?
Notice the words of the John 8:31-32, “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Our Lord sets before us a condition that, if we choose, will set us to experience great freedom in Him and to experience independence from the wages and ravages of sin. If you are a Christian in Christ, you are set free to choose to abide in Him. Independence, therefore, is found in Christ whom you are dependent on.
Notice John 15:4-5, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
If you are choosing dependence on Christ, you are choosing obedience to Christ. If you are obeying, then you are experiencing the grace of God that sets you free. That means you are free to know and to do the will of God. It also means you are independent of sin and death. You are free to live out your life in the grace of God through Jesus Christ for eternity.
The 4th of July is the date in which we celebrate our freedom from the tyranny of grave injustice, and we celebrate our independence to govern ourselves. We also agree that freedom is not the freedom to do as we please, nor is independence the right to choose anarchy over responsibility.
In Christ, we can experience the true meaning of Freedom and Independence.