Gaining freedom FROM something can bring relief, but gaining freedom TO something brings life. As we approach the 4th of July, we celebrate the birth of our country and remember a declaration of our independence FROM the rule of England. Very quickly, though, this fledgling country had to gain a vision for what they were going to use this freedom TO do.
As the country is shifting from revolution-focused to nation-forming in the Broadway show Hamilton, George Washington describes this mindset shift to Alexander Hamilton. It is a shift from rallying people to gain independence against a common foe to bonding people together toward an interdependent future. When counseling the young revolutionary, Washington tells Hamilton, “Winning is easy, young man; governing is harder.” With this insight, Washington lifts Hamilton’s eyes beyond the battle they had just won to the future they would now face.
These revolutionaries spent so much time defining themselves by what they were against that they now needed to figure out what they were for. They had all agreed on what they wanted freedom FROM, but now they needed to move forward in the direction they were headed TO.
Many believers are the same way. We can often forget that freedom is not just freedom from something bad, but it is freedom to something better. Romans 6:7-11 reminds us of this journey for the believer. In our very salvation, we are set free from sin because, through trusting in Christ, our sin is put to death on the cross. Our old lives that lived under the rule of sin are too put to death on that cross.
Scripture says, “For anyone who has died has been freed FROM sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives TO God. So you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:7-11, emphasis added).
Scripture lifts our eyes to the future. Our future is no longer defined by trying to gain freedom FROM sin. For you and me, that can be difficult to remember. When it seems like our bad habits, self-centered reflexes, and rebellious tendencies are constantly lurking, we read that our bondage to sin has been put to death. This is possible through not only the death of Christ, but this resurrection TO new life – a new life of freedom so that we might put our focus on living TO God.
What does living TO God look like for you?
God invites you to “offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness” (Romans 6:13). In a world of sin and death, there is no greater calling than to bring light and life as an instrument of God.
As I have spent the last year working on the newly revised and expanded edition of Dr. Anderson’s book Gracism: The Art of Inclusion, I have been encouraged by how the 8 sayings of a Gracist are amazing reminders of what it means to be an instrument of righteousness in a broken and divided world.
As we Lift, Cover, Share, Honor, Stand, Consider, Celebrate, and Heal, we move with intentionality TO what we are for and not just FROM what we are against. I’m excited to announce that the audiobook version of Dr. Anderson’s book is now available for download. You can find it on Audible and it is a great companion to your summer reading/listening list.
This 4th of July, let us reflect on FREEDOM, especially our freedom FROM sin. May God reveal to us how we may live our everyday lives TO God with vision and clarity.