The greatest, if not the only greatest day to any nation is its Independence Day. And as the tri - colour flag is elevated to its peak on the 15th of August every year, we commemorate its potential, purpose and it's plain call to see it, for all it’s worth. The cost of that flag flying up there has been extremely expensive as the unsung heroes of our nation bore the excruciating pain to give birth to the future. Martyrs and leaders who wouldn't live long enough to see this day, have dreamt and led us towards a free-India. And every year as we get a glimpse (through history, media and other platforms) of the painful yet the prosperous goal our forefathers have endeavoured to bring, we can't but steal into their joy and in some way participate in their patriotism. The fight now is over, the goal now is achieved, the land is free, the people are liberated.
All is well, till we are only disturbed from this momentary freedom as we discover the horror and the ramifications of the inner struggle for freedom. This is not a national cause, this is a personal one, yet this is a universal one. It is the way it has been for a long time. It is the curse man lives with. For a nation to be released from its oppressors, people can fight together. But what when the enemy is within? Can freedom come by fighting against the very one that empowers us to be enslaved. And no man is immune to this dangerous, old, universal master ruling us as a merciless tyrant. The Bible calls this master - sin, through which its co-ruler has also entered human race namely - death.
Man ever since his knowledge of human history has been a slave to this invisible, yet so evident master. This has been the cause of every other slavery. For years now man has defined, re-defined, denied, ignored, boasted and in a multi-faceted way in his vernacular voices tried to both embrace and run away at the same time from it, only to discover that he is a slave to it.
SIN - REAL BONDAGE
Modern man has no escape from this reality. Though the high and the elite, the sophisticated and the highly intellectual only have denied what the common man has been trying his best to voice it - the root of its cause, the Bible hasn't shied away from calling a spade a spade. It is called sin. The human heart has been an abode for it ever since our planet was visited by it (read Gen. 3 for more info). And its primary consequence has been separation from God our creator - in Gods very words it's called death.
Man has lost his capacity to reconnect with God. Numerous inventions of gods and ways to gods themselves are no good to restore that relationship. Man is not only dead, but lost, lost himself, lost his address back home to God. This was the tragic end of man. How do we know? There are numerous evidences, let me take just three
1) Death! It is the constant reminder that we have all incurred the seed of sin - for everyone wants to live, but everyone knows they can't, they don't, and to an extent we all know that the reason is this deadly thing within us.
2) Corruption! The very nature of man and all its entailments are also an evidence - our news and newspapers are full of the deadly consequences of sin- none is exempt from it, we all are the reason for it. Man is simply corrupt to the core. We can play the blame game by making someone else responsible for it, but not for too long.
3) Existential Struggles! The inescapability of man's hunger for freedom, pleasure, happiness and so many other noble desires are all a powerful reminder too about this eternal chronic within us.
PURSUIT FOR FREEDOM
You don't have to study in great universities to know that you are in this bondage, the very aspirations, desires and all the discoveries of mankind show that man is inevitably longing for it. Because we know it’s a bondage. Furthermore, his insatiable inventions of entertainment are all clear signs of his search for freedom. But who will set us free from the old master and grant us this freedom?
The good news is, that God isn't like man in any way. Despite man’s rebellion to deny his Creator, God in His inimitable manner has restored the relationship through His Son Jesus Christ. How?
John 8:31b-32 - Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The only way one can be set free from this eternal bondage is by
Know The Freedom Giver
What were Jesus' teachings? About God He said, was His Father and He was His Son. This doesn't mean that He was a lesser God, but teaching us that He Himself is God. By helping us know that He has come to show us who God is. How do we know?
His brith - absolute humility - He, having a choice to choose His birth place choose a manger than a mansion. To show us the divine humility that has come down not to condemn us but to connect us back to God.
His teachings - absolute clarity - None can come to God except through Him alone. He never minced His words. He didn't say I can show you the way to God, I know the truth to lead you towards freedom, or I can teach you how to live - He boldly in His own divinity claimed that He was The Way, The Truth and The Life – He is the Only Living Way to God.
His life - absolute purity - born through a virgin, lived an absolute holy life. His impeccable moral life and un-ignorable divine nature in His undeniable human likeness are the greatest authorities to question His critics “can any one of you prove me guilty of sin?" - John 8:46.
His lifestyle - absolute divinity
He performed miracles in a God-alone-can-do-this manner. For in the healing of a leper, He touched him before He healed him by showing the world that not only was He God, but that He alone can love a man who was excommunicated by the world, who was infinitely unholy and untouchable to the Holy One. He raised the dead, rebuked the demons, rebuked nature, healed the blind, the mute, the sick of every kind. But His greatest act was to forgive the sinners while taking upon Himself the sin of the entire world by dying on the cross 2000 years ago.
His death - absolute penalty - for who can pay an infinite price incurred by us, by sinning against an infinite God, except He who is infinite. That is why, His death alone meets the requirement in setting us free by taking our place instead.
His resurrection - absolute authority - God rose Him from the dead, but showing that the death of Jesus met and also satisfied His anger. He rose with authority, by setting mankind free form its master, sin.
His ascension - absolute beauty - His empty tomb and the empowering of the early disciples all tell us about His ascension. He went up to the heavens and sent us His Holy Spirit, who convicts us about our sin, about Christ and about the inescapable judgement of God of all those who deny His offer of forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ.
His return an absolute certainty - He is coming back for sure. How do we know? All that He prophesied is coming true and so will His coming again be.
So what should be my response?
There’s no other human being in time, space and world who can offer the offer Jesus is making. In His death and resurrection, He took our place to redeem us from the punishment of sin from God and give us His life to know and enjoy Him forever. We are born once and death is for certain and those who don’t receive this forgiveness that God offers us in His Son shall be left to receive His wrath forever, but those who receive His forgiveness in Christ Jesus also receive God’s life as their gift.
None shall understand the truth until by faith put trust in this Son of God and His work for us. When we believe we shall know the Truth and then the truth will set us free. If we repent (turn away from our sins) and confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us and grant us eternal life. The writer is one proof of how this God sets sinners free from both the bondage of sin. Not just from evident sins, but the very principle of sin that controls and the consequences that entail. Jesus both set me free and reconciled me back to God. May you be set free too!
Would you do the same and receive this eternal freedom that Jesus Christ alone can offer. To delay is to be negligent, to deny is to be foolish, to disbelieve is to be proud. Receive the freedom that Jesus is offering to you today.