We just celebrated this nation’s Independence Day – when our forefathers decided to throw off the yoke of oppression they felt the British had placed upon them. The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Built right into this world-changing document is the idea that God has blessed all people with certain rights that can’t be taken away from them, one of which is liberty – freedom.
In Romans 7 and the first part of 8, Paul lays down what could be considered the Christian Declaration of Independence. In it, Paul says that we’ve been set free from three things.
In Romans 7:1-6, Paul says that we are free from the Law. In the last half of Romans 7, Paul tells us that Christians have been set free from the frustrations of the flesh. In the beginning of Romans 8, Paul writes that we are set free from condemnation. We will not be placed under unfavorable judgment on the last day if we are in Christ.
Most people in our society don’t have a clue what freedom really is. They think it means they get to do what they want when they want. They can do drugs, drink, and be promiscuous. They can go to school or not. Go to work or not. Study or not. But those things don’t mean they’re free.
In Romans 6:12-13, Paul tells us that those things make them slaves to sin:
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness;
A few verses later, though, he tells us there’s another option:
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You’ve no doubt seen the bumper sticker that says, “Freedom isn’t free.” Throughout the history of this country, men and women have paid for that freedom with their lives. The same can be said about the freedoms we have in Christ. For us, Jesus paid for those freedoms with His life.
3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
The only way to attain true freedom is through the blood of Christ. And that means subjecting yourself to baptism – the symbolic death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.