by Dr. Maurice Irvin, a former editor of The Alliance Weekly and Alliance Life
I was in New York City for the celebration of the centennial of the Statue of Liberty during the 4th of July weekend. The crowds were huge and the sights impressive.
During the programs and speeches and songs I repeatedly heard the words freedom, liberty, and independence. The United States of America became independent of British rule in 1776. Across the years millions of immigrants have responded to the call of the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
and have come to America seeking the opportunities and rights that are provided and protected in this unique land. These facts were the focus of the festivities.
But during the weekend I was constantly reminded that it is possible to be free physically and politically and still to be in spiritual bondage. And unfortunately in North America where individuals enjoy more independence and opportunities than any people in history have ever known there are millions with spirits that are tragically enslaved.
Freedom from Guilt
Only salvation in Christ Jesus provides that inner liberty we need most. He gives freedom from guilt, the crushing sense of responsibility for wrongs we have done that presses upon our inner beings despite all our efforts to ignore and evade it.
Christ gives deliverance from the power of sin. The average person denies he is enslaved by evil. But our world is filled with broken homes, strife, drunkenness, cursing, immorality, slander, cruelty, corruption, gluttony, injustice, covetousness, and irreverence not because people want these conditions to prevail, but rather because people are driven by the power of sin to behave improperly. Christ can change a person’s inner nature. He puts a new spirit within which causes us to love God and want to do right.
Jesus provides freedom from the deceptions of Satan. Without His help we are vulnerable to the twisted ideas and perverted attitudes Satan fosters among men. With Christ we see clearly; we understand truth; we recognize evil for what it is.
Christ gives freedom from the tyranny of things. How sadly many in our world are driven to accumulate more and more possessions to satisfy an inner hunger. How pitifully people buy and buy in a futile quest for some trinket or treasure that will provide lasting happiness.
Our Savior gives us soul-satisfying fellowship with God so that we do not need things to be satisfied; we do not need houses and cars and boats and jewelry and toys and appliances and collections to find peace, joy, and happiness.
Jesus delivers from the tyranny of time. The frantic pace of life in North America is caused in part for many when they realize that this life is the only one they have. Every tick of the clock takes away something they can never recover. Each passing moment brings them closer to an end after which there are no tomorrows.
But the person who is in Christ Jesus is guaranteed an absolutely endless eternity of bliss and blessing. Thus each day on this earth for him is just one of an inexhaustible supply of days. Passing hours simply lead to never ending additional hours. He need never worry about the passing of time, for His time will never run out.
Physical and political freedom is of great value. During the recent holidays I breathed to God prayers of thanksgiving for the privileges we enjoy in North America. But spiritual freedom is greater. Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Above all else I am grateful for the spiritual liberty which is found in Christ.
This editorial was originally published in the Aug. 27, 1986, issue of The Alliance Weekly.