“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery . . . . the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” Galatians 5:1, 6b
Yesterday, A female new commentator listed the three major issues of our time: abortion, gun rights and election justice. FREEDOM is the operational word that unleashes and interconnects their timely foundational impact for our time. Why? How?
First, Christ FREES us to decide. We are given choice. There are roughly 400 Biblical references to choose, choice and chosen. One could add Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created (chose) the heavens and the earth.” God could have not chosen to create. God chose to enter the world in Jesus Christ. Jesus chose to live, die and rise for the sake of humanity and transformation of life. God FREELY chose actions of life! Christ FREELY chose to liberate humanity. As we live in Christ, so are we graced to FREELY choose, to decide what it means to live in this freedom.
Second, in this FREEDOM, we are called and bound to choose LOVE as the foundation and focus of our choosing. We cannot choose to do anything at anytime for any reason. FREEDOM and LOVE guide, limit and elevate our actions. There is a link between what we do for ourselves and its effect upon others. FREEDOM is about us as well as others. Jesus is concerned about the individual and what we do and its effects on others. Jesus is not a blind Libertarian. As persons we are linked to community. What one does affects all.
Abortion, gun usage and election justice must balance individual freedom with freedom to live and love within community. We do not live in isolation. How we live includes how we understand our dreams and our ability to act. LOVE is the FREELY given grace which guides this decision-making. We are bound to respect this balance. The norm for respecting this balance is Christ’s FREE grace which liberates us to engage life questions in the arena of LOVE. Whether one chooses to have an abortion or not, purchase a weapon or not, exercise election choice or not, ALL are graced with a liberating mercy to do whatever one chooses in faith and LOVE.
Third, FREEDOM to LOVE embraces brokenness and forgiveness. However we choose, by the mercy of God in Christ, we are bound and called to confession and promised forgiveness that we may be inspired by the Fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, generosity and self control. All that we may live faithfully and lovingly as we are so guided and inspired, exercising our individuality within our responsibility to the common life of all.
We are FREE! We are FREE to LOVE.
Blessings and Peace!
Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)