The Wrong Use of Freedom
by Joseph Franks
Mr. Kaepernick, please adjust your ways! We all know the truth; many men and women have lived, fought, and died for this liberty you possess. Yes, you have the freedom to protest. You have the liberty to sit during the National Anthem while others are standing, respecting, and honoring. You are correct; no one can deny your position as a citizen of the United States of America. You are free to disrespect your fathers, fellow citizens, fallen heroes, living servants, country, and yourself. But Mr. Kaepernick, why would you continue to so foolishly abuse your liberty? Why would you use your freedom so poorly?
Mr. Christian, please adjust your ways! You too have been loved by a Savior who has lived, fought, and died for the liberty you possess. And no one can deny the freedom purchased for you by Jesus Christ. You are secure in him. You are a citizen of the kingdom, and it has nothing to do with your performance before or after your conversion. Jesus paid for all your sins. He earned surplus righteousness and placed it into your good works account; it is full and running over. All the sins you committed yesterday, they are indeed covered by your precious Savior. And all the sins you commit today and tomorrow, they too are paid for by the blood of the Lamb; for you there is no hell to pay. You have liberty to make decisions. You have a renewed free will that enables you to choose right or wrong. But Mr. Christian, why would you continue to disrespect and dishonor the one who gave his life for you? And why would you miss out on the joy of celebrating your heritage and encouraging others to join the honorable celebration?
The Holy Spirit and Paul would encourage you to rightly use your freedom and adjust your ways:
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery … Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh …. (Galatians 5:1, 13)
So too would Saint Peter:
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:16-17)
Listen to our church fathers:
The liberty Christ has purchased for us grants us freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the Moral Law, and our upcoming rescue from this present evil world. We are no longer sons of the devil. We are no longer slaves of Satan. We can say “No!” to his leadership and domination. We are free from the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and the eternal damnation awaiting some. We are free to access God; we are commanded to come into his presence with thanksgiving. And we can obey our Father, not out of slavish fear, but with childlike love and a willing mind. We do not have to worship as did our ancient fathers under the Ceremonial Law; that yoke has been removed. Our New Covenant liberty is enlarged, and we get to enjoy even fuller access to the throne of grace and the Holy Spirit than did they. Therefore, when we practice or cherish sin, we disrespect our Christ and the freedom his provided for us. We have been given this freedom that we may honor him by serving him without fear, in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. (Adapted from Westminster Confession of Faith, 20:, 3)
Christian friend, enjoy your freedom. Do not, even for a moment, live as if you were in bondage. A magnificent and expensive sacrifice has been made that you might thrive in liberty. However, do not use your freedom poorly. Honor your Savior. Honor your citizenship. Stand up and live a life worthy of the calling you have received. You didn’t do anything to deserve such benefits, but you can respond with honorable respect. Stand up! Sing! Represent with dignity the Kingdom of Heaven.