But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in the doing.

James 1: 25

 

Liberty means many different things as that meaning is often determined by the context of the use of the word. For a sailor who has been on a long cruise it means the opportunity to go ashore and enter into freedom from the rules that govern life on the ship. Prisoners experience liberty as they are set free from confinement. Patrick Henry is quoted on the subject as he concluded his remarks before the Second Virginia Convention on March 20, 1775 with this famous statement, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Henry was speaking about freedom from oppressive rule and he was counseling revolution as the means to achieve that form of liberty. It might seem that liberty in its truest sense involves taking action; it is not passive.

 

That is the point that James is driving at here, too. Christ perfects God’s law. His death and resurrection free people from our captivity to sin and its death, which is what made the law incomplete on its own. This law that Christ has perfected is the only way by which people can enter into the true liberty that God desires for us to enjoy. This liberty, like all forms of freedom, comes with responsibilities attached to it. In Christ, we are free to live fully, vigorously, and passionately within the will of God as He has expressed it in His Word. We are free, but to enjoy and employ that freedom we are required to submit ourselves fully to Christ. In what is one of creation’s greatest paradoxes our most important freedom also demands our total servitude.

 

As servants of Christ, followers of the true reigning King, we are to be people who are not content to just hear good sounding words and become satisfied that we are different from our culture by virtue of a momentary period of association such as attending church or a bible study. Those are good things, but that is not all that Christ desires for us to do with our liberty. We are free to speak truth into our culture and to do so in a manner that brings loving care and righteous zeal into the conversation. Our liberty should remove fear and self-protection from our approaches to others whether they are neighbors who do not seem to know God or are people from vastly different cultures with foreign languages and customs. The liberty that Christ so painfully purchased for us demands that we, in turn, touch our world with the love, truth, and saving grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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