For freedom Christ has set us free. And if we live in true freedom, then we will also seek freedom for those around us, and will not profit from their subjugation. As followers of Jesus, our pursuit of Justice and Righteousness for others is a primary witness to our faith in Him.
What does freedom mean to you? What scenes are conjured in your imagination? The mountains? The beach? A flowered meadow? Flying? Floating? Laughter? Family? Health?
What freedom do you seek? Is it freedom from addiction? Freedom from financial worry? Freedom from anxiety and fear? Freedom from relationship problems? Freedom from violence and oppression? Freedom from judgement and hate – either self-imposed or from others?
Jesus’ ministry echoes and fulfills the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). We hear proclaimed and see demonstrated the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) when God instructed the people to release their neighbors from the bonds of oppression imposed by generational poverty – regardless of what caused that poverty. Jesus set people free from disease and disorder – regardless of what caused these problems. Jesus set people free from guilt and shame – regardless of the circumstances or complicity of their sin and brokenness.
As kids, when playing ball, there would occasionally be some interference, and we would all call out, “DO OVER!” – a type of forgiveness of the last play made. In business we have several types of debt forgiveness, often under some form of bankruptcy. There is a process, and there are consequences, but there is also freedom.
Followers of Jesus Christ long to claim our freedom from sin and from the Law, yet we are also often the first to hold others to strict standards of action and reaction, behavior and consequences. Consequences matter, and certainly God does not sweep away all the consequences of our choices.
What if we as Christians were the first and most consistent to declare freedom for people, and then organize our lives and our work in ways that help people live into the full freedom that God offers us in Christ Jesus? What if we sought the freedom of others before we claimed our own freedom (Philippians 2). What if we lived like freedom in Christ was for all people?