Freedom in Christ
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV UK)
We in the US recognise July 4, 1776, as the birth date of our nation. That was the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
But in 1776 there was something published I think far more noteworthy even than that: the famous hymn, Rock of Ages, written by August Montagu Toplady. It’s one of the two most reprinted hymns in Christian history. The words read like a good sermon, almost like Scripture:
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Not the labours of my hands, Can fulfil Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone: Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy Cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, or I die.”
There’s a lot of very sound theology wrapped up in that verse transcending denominational lines and national borders. It reminds us, whomever and wherever we are, of our most important citizenship.
The United States was founded on the principle that all people are created equal, and have right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am extremely grateful to be a citizen of a nation that values freedom.
There is, however, no freedom equivalent to the freedom we have in Christ. Let’s rather celebrate our freedom in Christ. Jesus came to us, hidden in the Trinity, birthed in the most humble of circumstances, dying on a cross. He revealed God’s infinite, perfect love to us, and we do well to recognise his suffering as a gift that grants us a freedom of cosmic proportions—a true freedom that flows from faith, hope and love, and that leads to freedom, to truth, to goodness, to beauty—that leads to life eternal in fellowship with the Triune God.
As the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Holy Father, you have us in hand to make of dull earth a masterpiece of your creation, destined to be with you for all eternity. We ask for our rough edges and the faults hidden within us to be remoulded as necessary. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
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