What is freedom?
Freedom is the ability to do as you please without the danger of outside interference. We in America prize this ability above all others, and even proclaim our God-given right to do so! However, this is not always a good thing, for if we are free to do good, by extension, we are also free to do evil as we so please!
For the past century or so, America's churches have been permeated by the doctrine that says salvation is simply going to 'heaven' when you die! If salvation merely means an escape from this crazy mixed up world, why would one try to make this crazy mixed up world any better; we're leaving it all behind anyway, right?
This train of thought has more to do with our dwindling freedoms in this country than most people might think! If we have nothing to live for in this world, and everything to die for, why should we even try ( because it's such a tough life ) to make the best of things? Scripturally speaking, our freedom is directly linked to our salvation! If we are free, as Scripture tells us we are, it is because of the salvation that God wrought through His Son, Jesus the Christ; 'Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.' ( John 8:36 )!
Conversely, if Americans are losing their freedoms, it is because they have lost their 'salvation'! American Christianity has taught its denizens for so long that, just as salvation is physical, so is freedom. Yes, both have their necessary physical attributes, but as is freedom, so salvation is a matter of the heart; if one is not free at heart, one is not truly free! That one may go through the motions, but just like salvation, if the Holy Spirit has not begun a good work in that person, then that person has neither been saved nor set free!
If salvation truly comes only when one dies, then it is no wonder that many America Christians are 'of all men most miserable'; they'll never be truly happy ( or free ) till they are free of this world ( or till Jesus comes back, whichever comes first )!
Freedom & Salvation are two very closely related intangibles, so even though, as we have seen, they both have their physical outworking, or attributes, they are both matters of the heart, or the Spirit, where it all must begin! Just as one may proclaim their 'salvation', unless they prove it by living out those principles in their life, so if one is truly free, and believes in the principles of freedom, they will live as free men & women! The state motto of New Hampshire, 'Live free or die', comes to mind here!
When America's pulpits begin to teach a true, rather than a false salvation, then we may begin to see the citizens of God's Kingdom begin to exercise the freedom that they have been given in Christ. If people are taught that they will not truly have salvation till they physically perish, but are only given the future promise of 'heaven', then is it any wonder that they are giving up their 'freedoms' almost without a fight?!
'Freedom is nothing if not exercised!'
If we do not exercise the freedom we have been given by God, we have seen what happens! Six million Jews lost their freedom because they thought they had no choice. Do you think if those six million Jews had exercised their God-given freedom and refused to obey a government that wished to take away that freedom, that so many would have perished? Because so many American Christians refused to take a stand against their evil government in the stead of the helpless unborn, we now have legalized abortion, and almost 60 million preborn children have been murdered; LEGALLY!
The Salvation of God's People was accomplished almost 2,000 years ago, when Jesus the Son of God was crucified on that cruel cross of Calvary. Almost exactly 40 years later, God's People were physically saved from the sack & ruin of Jerusalem because the implemented that most important principle regarding their freedom, 'when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.' ( Luke 21:20 & 21 ). If they had not exercised the freedom gained them by their Messiah, they would have perished with the rest!
If we, as Christians, and Citizens of the Kingdom of God, will not exercise the Freedom we have been given by God, then we will see the physical freedoms granted by our government continue to dwindle, and finally, disappear altogether! We must begin to prove our freedom if we are to remain free! We must 'Live Free, or Die', for our freedom will atrophy & die if we do not make use of it, and let it shine forth in our lives!
May we as 'One Nation, Under God', begin both to exercise both our completed salvation and thusly the freedom that we have been given; if we do not, this nation will die!
Charles Haddon Shank