II Corinthians

Cruising Route 66

Freedom Is A Dangerous Gift

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:34-36 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. II Corinthians 3:17 

On Dec 1, 1955, in Montgomery, AL, a lady named Rosa Parks got on a city bus. She sat down gratefully in the first empty seat. Her feet were tired after a long day. A few stops later a man got on the bus and demanded that Rosa give up her seat to him. She was told that she had to move to the back of the bus. She was too tired, so she politely said she wasn’t getting up from her seat.

Rosa Parks was arrested, not because of any crime she committed, but because of the contrast in the color of her skin. She was black and the man was white. A bus boycott was planned, and a new young 26-year-old minister in town was called upon to lead it. With big hopes and little resources, he took on the task, his name was Martin Luther King Jr.

When the plan of a boycott became known, the threats started, and within a few days, the young minister was arrested and jailed for the crime of driving 30 mph in a 25 mph zone. Shaken by his first jail experience, he wondered if he had it in him to continue. He considered resigning. While his family slept he sat in the kitchen over a cup of coffee, considering his next move. His moment of contemplation was interrupted by a bomb exploding on his front porch, filling his home with smoke & broken glass- but God was with him, and there were no injuries.

America needed a prophet and God sent one. Each year we celebrate the birth of this 20th century Moses, but like many of the birth remembrances we celebrate, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, has gotten lost in the traffic of a three-day weekend. It isn’t the man that must never be forgotten, but why he did what he did. Failure to remember the why will only provide the avenue to repeat it.

Most of us feel that we would never allow such a thing to happen because we are God’s people. We don’t harbor such thoughts. We are beyond that type of thinking. That is what they felt in 1965, and that’s what they felt in the church at Corinth 1900 years earlier. They thought that anyone who claimed Christ lived a Christ-like life.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.  II Corinthians 11:13-15 

Author, Philip Yancy tells of a time in his childhood, when he witnessed a row of white church ushers with their arms linked, blocking the entrance into a large church across from the State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. It was a Sunday morning in 1965, and inside the congregation was singing the hymn: “Love divine, all loves excelling…” (Hymnal)

At the bottom of the steps 5 black men, dressed in dark suits, white shirts, and ties, held hands and appeared to be praying. Turning their attention to the open church doors, one ascended and stopped in front of the ushers. After a few moments, one of the ushers extends his hand, not to welcome but to strike the black man in the face, knocking him down the steps.

Philip Yancy says he will never forget what he saw or the sound of the voices singing worship songs coming from the church. We are not exempt from the bondage of enslaving another. If we were exempt from such a possibility, Paul would not have warned us as he did.

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.  Galatians 5:1  

Liberty and slavery are incompatible with one another. We have been called to be free and to set others free, but to do so we must come to terms with the struggle we have with our freedom. There is the ever-present risk of misusing our liberty, and to abuse the freedom we have so freely been given. The voices within the church sang praises of love, but that love was limited. The men who stood at the door may well have believed in loving their neighbor, they just used their freedom to determine which neighbor that would be.

We have been set free, and given free will, but we must manage that freedom wisely. Freedom can be a dangerous thing when wielded unwisely. Have you ever thought maybe it would be wiser not to even teach Christians how truly free they are? It would be safer to make lists for mankind to live by than to grant them freedom by tearing up the rules we’ve made. It is risky to promote liberty, living by grace, and being free to become who we really are?

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  Galatians 5:13  

The risk of liberty is that some are bound to misuse it. There is always the danger that some will do the wrong thing, the destructive thing, the sinful thing. It’s like giving the car keys to our kids for the first time and letting them go. It’s a risk, but the alternative is not an option. No kid ever grew up to become a responsible and mature adult without mom and dad encouraging and providing the freedom to grow.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedomII Corinthians 3:17  

Simply put my friends, if freedom is not in the church, then Jesus isn’t either.

Until next time,


Award-Winning Author of
Biblical & Historical Fiction