Free to Live

By Not Known

The cry for freedom is universal.

It was the cry behind the French and American revolutions. It was the cry of the Chinese revolution under Dr Sun Yat Sen. And since the second world war we have seen how in all continents the cry of freedom has brought ‘winds of change’. In Europe we have seen the fall of both fascist and communist political ideologies, and new forms of social liberation. In America we have seen the breaking down of racial segregation. And in Africa and Asia we have seen the fall of former colonial and imperial empires and the rise of new free independent nations, among them Singapore.

Today once again we are witnessing the same cry for freedom in the Arab world, where people are protesting against dictatorship and the abuse of power. The cry for freedom, freedom from oppression, from exploitation and the abuse of power continues today.

It is easier, however, to embrace freedom when there is a clear cut restriction of human rights. It is much more difficult to embrace the responsibilities of freedom. Freedom without a positive foundation can soon lead to licence and even anarchy.

James in his letter has an intriguing foundation for freedom, an unexpected combination of thoughts, when he talks of ‘the law of liberty’. Law is often seen as a restriction of liberty, not as a release of freedom. But freedom for James cannot be detached from the law, law not in the human sense of man made rules, but law in the sense of God’s commandment to love. He sees liberty as based on the royal law of Christ, the law of love.

Freedom then is only true freedom when we come under the law of Christ, the law to love. Christian freedom is never the licence to do what we want. That is often the goal and result of human freedom. Christian freedom is to do what Christ requires. Paradoxically we are only free when we are slaves. In order to experience true freedom we have to become his servants and bound in his service.

What a wonderful freedom we have in bondage to our Lord.           



Derek Kingston