The Lord has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives. Isaiah 61:1
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Today is Bastille day, the national day of France. It is the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, a celebration of freedom from tyranny. We have freedom – Paul says it in Galatians – Christ has set us free. What does freedom mean? After all we really aren’t free to do just anything we want. Most of us have to go to work, to earn some money so we can have housing, food, clothes. We are free of course to spend our money any way we wish, as long as we keep up with the bills.
Freedom can mean liberation, or exempt from liability. In John 8:36, Jesus says: “So if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.” So what have we been freed from? One is freedom from the consequences of sin, from having our lives controlled by our sinful actions. Once freed, through Jesus Christ, we can have our lives controlled by the Holy Spirit. We no longer have to pay the fine for our sin, our liability for sinning is taken away through God’s grace. We also can be freed from guilt. We have the freedom to confess this to God, to repent, to ask for forgiveness and be freed of the guilt and shame.
Besides being freed from, we are also freed to. We have the freedom to have a personal relationship with God, to freely pray and ask for guidance and forgiveness. We also have the freedom to serve as God guides us. The verse from Isaiah speaks of one who is sent to bring Good News, to help the broken hearted, and to liberate the captives. We might not feel as though we are captives of anyone, but we can feel as though captive by our sins of commission and omission. Jesus came to do the things named in this verse and in the following verse. In Luke 4:18, as He reads this portion of Isaiah, he states that this is now fulfilled. The Good News has arrived for everyone.
We are all saved by grace, freed to accomplish the plan God has for our lives.
Sending God, we hear your call to proclaim to others that your grace has set us free. Your death on the cross broke the bonds of sin and freed us. Help us remember that your resurrection opens the way to true freedom. Give us the courage to speak your liberating word to all those who need to hear it today. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.