Freedom is defined as “the quality or state of being free” and is synonymous with “liberty.” May God Almighty continue to keep us free.
By the way, if you have not read Pastor Paul Johnson’s sermon of the week, this past week, I urge you to do so.
It is entitled, “The Strategy of Liberty.” Pastor Johnson referred to the National Monument to the Forefathers and described it in detail. He pointed out that the central figure on the stone pedestal is the image of a woman symbolizing Faith.
Seated around her are four additional images representing the four primary principles upon which the Pilgrims founded their commonwealth.
The first principle is Freedom, by which tyranny is overthrown and peace results.
Contrary to the belief of many Americans, freedom, as we know it, does not have its origins in the Bible. The earliest known value of freedom is in connection with Greek resistance to the Persian invasion of Greece (492 B.C.), and made immortal in the battle of the 300 Spartans.
The Greeks understood freedom as “a defense of the free and a resistance against despotism.” This idea was followed by the Roman concept which they called liberty (libertas), meaning, “doing whatever one wants” as long as it is within the limits of Roman law.
The subject of freedom and the law has been debated for centuries by ancient philosophers to present day lawmakers. As a result, freedom is either increased or decreased depending on who is making the laws.
Freedom in the Old Testament was not a theological development, but a social state, which opposed slavery.
Israel’s exodus out of Egyptian bondage was not for the express purpose of freedom, but redemption. God’s people were to be set free in order to worship him.
Thus, freedom in the Old Testament is to be free to worship God. The same is true in the New Testament, except all of the preceding concepts of freedom were also contributing factors.
A snapshot of freedom in the New Testament is seen through the eyes of the Apostle John (John 8); especially the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:2-11). The religious teachers and Pharisees brought her to Jesus, badgering him with what should be done with her.
“The Old Testament Law says execute her (Lev. 20:10), but what do you say?” Jesus’ response was liberating, he said, “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone,”(John 8:7).
The would-be-executioners walked away, beginning with the oldest. None was left to condemn, neither did he.
Jesus’ refusal to condemn does not mean that he exonerated or condoned the woman’s sin, he refused to condemn her to death — to execute her. Instead, he set her free.
Jesus said of his freedom, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” (John 8:36).
Although Jesus set the guilty woman free, he also made her feel the weight of her wrong doing when he said to her, “Go now, and leave your life of sin.”(John 8:11).
True freedom resists the tyranny of sin and rejoices in liberty and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord — the true Liberator and Great Emancipator.
The Rev. Ken Moren is pastor of Family Christian Center. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.