In South Africa we celebrated Freedom Day to day. It is a national Public Holiday to commemorate “political emancipation” from the evils of “Apartheid”.
Freedom Day is the commemoration of the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. These were the first post-apartheid national elections to be held in South African where anyone could vote regardless of race. The first democratic elections gave birth to our constitutional democracy. For the majority of South Africans who had never voted before their dignity was restored and the country transformed to a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society. Prior to this, during apartheid, racial segregation which was enforced by the National Party prevented any kind of inter-racial activity. South Africa is the country it is today because of their countless sacrifices and that of many other South Africans who fought tirelessly to overcome the brutal apartheid system. (www.gov.za)
A comment on that extract from www.gov.za is needed. In the third line “race” is used in the context of there being various races of people. Further on the term “non-racial” contradicts the previous use of “race”. Biblically speaking, there is only one race and that is the human race. Evolutionists might follow the thought or belief that various races evolved … but the Word of God teaches that all come from Adam and Eve through Noah and his sons. Like it or not, there is only one race.
However, 27 April 1994–27 years ago–was a wonderful forward push towards equality, dignity and the eradication of past hurt, pain and suffering. In the early years it appeared as if we were on our way towards what Nelson Mandela called a Rainbow Nation. Very sadly we seem to have back peddled as a nation, not achieving the desired freedom that political freedom intended. Further to this, across the planet we do not enjoy true freedom. Too often in marriages, families, work places, schools, sporting codes to mention only a few, there is a visible lack “freedom” in that bullying and dominance plaque so many relationships that intended freedom is non-existent or eroded!
However, there is another freedom that must not be overlooked or missed. It’s the freedom anyone may enjoy being in union with the Lord Jesus Christ! Often what we forget is that we who are followers of the Lord Jesus were once in bondage and captivity. Satan held lordship over us. We were so deceived that we followed he who is our bitter enemy blindly. We were ignorant. We knew no better. We could not help ourselves. But then, God’s elective grace kicked in and by grace we were saved. Read this exhilarating passage which describes what we were and what took place … and who we now are:
Eph 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Don’t you just love that little “connecting” word but as verse 4 starts? God redeemed us from the spiritual slave market. He set us free, delivering us from captivity … removing us from bondage and placing us in His glorious Kingdom where we are free in Jesus Christ to be everything that God wants us to be as His Children. This is glorious truth. Spiritual emancipation took place at Calvary at a huge price to our God.
Never forget this love that cannot be expressed … only felt in the soul of a grateful believer! Starting from the model and example of the Lord Jesus … when the Gospel is preached truthfully, freedom is offered to all prisoners (souls is spiritual captivity).
Lk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
That year of the Lord’s favour has not ended for as long as it’s gospel time, souls have the opportunity to experience the Lord’s favour … spiritual emancipation! Once this freedom in Jesus Christ is experienced … there is the continual need for freedom from sin, wrong paths and slipping away from the safety net of freedom in Christ and a return, not to devil ownership but to sinful ways. To counter this we need to learn from the Psalmist:
Ps 119:45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
Daily we need to feast on manner from heaven by taking up God’s Holy Word and seeking Truth and Wisdom so that we can “walk about in freedom”. So that we can walk through the day without returning to the oppression of the wicked one’s ways. But this “walk of freedom” is not selfish. It needs to be shared with other followers of Jesus. We need to seek the best for all members of the Kingdom … especially the new and perhaps weaker believer.
1Co 8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
As an illustration … I don’t use alcohol. I did before conversion. There is nothing wrong or sinful with a beer or glass of wine, but for me personally I refrain because of the weaker brother or sister. We need to constantly review who we are with and what we do because new believers and weak believers might stumble spiritually if they see us doing what they deem to be sin. And remember, you can’t lose your salvation but you can lose freedom if you abuse your freedom in Christ by engaging in some “small sins of the past.”
Gal 5:1 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.
SS 2:15 Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
It’s the little sins that cause us to forfeit our freedom In Jesus Christ. Lord, please help us to understand our freedom in Jesus and what it means so that we live upright, godly lives, cherishing what we have in Jesus and avoiding a return to the bondage of sin. Amen.