The Giver of Freedom
By Miriam Nadler
Every year on the 4th of July we have picnics and gatherings that include spectacular fireworks, in order to celebrate our national freedom. We, as a people, value personal and national freedom. Although we are no longer subjugated by another country, it seems that more than ever corruption and exploitation from the highest forms of government are eroding our freedoms within and from without. Forces of hate seem to rob our freedom, as well. Therefore, freedom either personal or spiritual, when not defended, will be lost. Paul reminded us, “It was for freedom that Messiah set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Ideally, our government leaders should serve to protect and secure the liberty of being a citizen of this country. In a sense, they are to shepherd and guide us into greater stability. I think it is safe to say that this is a temporal and flimsy security at best and our freedom could be snatched away at a moment’s notice. However, as believers in Messiah, our freedom is not found in the stormy waters of political instability or even in quiet tranquility, but essentially it is anchored in the deliverance God has provided for each one of us in His Son. As Yeshua declared, “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
The Good Shepherd vs the Thief
John 10 gives us a parable of a shepherd and his sheep. Then the comparison is made between the good shepherd and the thief. The thief’s purpose for the sheep is totally evil; whereas, the good shepherd’s plan for His sheep is entirely caring and compassionate. Messiah, being our Good Shepherd, desires the well-being of His flock and gives an abundant life filled with freedom, satisfaction and security. He whispers to each of His sheep: “I came that you might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The Good Shepherd proves his goodness by placing the welfare of His sheep as His primary goal, even to the point of the cross, giving His life for His flock.
In John 10:10, Yeshua reveals the will of the Father to us and why He came into the world. He came to dwell among us so that He could, by His atoning sacrifice, give each of us ultimate freedom from the bondage of sin and the gift of His eternal life. Messiah reiterates that we are protected in His hands, in John 10:28 – “I give eternal life to them and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”
Spiritual Blessings of True Freedom
This eternal life of freedom is multi-faceted. In Paul’s letter to the congregation at Ephesus we have an incredible description of our life in Yeshua. In Ephesians 1:1-14, Paul begins by declaring that every spiritual heavenly blessing is found in Messiah.
These blessings are not tied to this earth or any governmental system. The blessings provide the capacity to know God and to possess His life. We have a purpose in everything we do here and now, because of the kind intention of His will and enabling grace to reflect His glory, despite the circumstances.
Therefore, we do not have to despair even if our freedom is compromised, but rather have confident hope. Now, as we live in view of divine authority, we live as free and redeemed people who are sealed by the Holy Spirit and have His presence as a guarantee of our freedom in the Lord (Eph. 1:13-14).
Each of us needs to be careful not to give heed to the voice of the thief, but to listen to the voice of truth. The thief wants to take our focus from the person of Messiah as the source of our liberty and joy. The thief lures us to chase after a life of temporary pleasures rather than follow the Son, who is the Giver of freedom and Shepherd of eternal life.
Let’s celebrate our true freedom in the Lord and remember to pray for our government, using our liberty in Yeshua to bring honor to the Name that is above every name. He has given us liberty to live, to the praise of His glory!