The Sermon for Sunday, July 4, is “Covenant with Freedom,” which will draw primarily from 2 Samuel 5:1-5. It will be viewable online.
Today’s Bible passage:
Zechariah 14:9 (NRSV): And the LORD will become king over all the earth; on that day the LORD will be one and his name one.
By Chuck Griffin
If your nation functions as nations should, love of nation can be a good thing. Christians know there are degrees of love, however, and love of nation has to be kept in perspective.
Those of us blessed to live in the United States and similarly free countries have much to love. We live in nations with open intellectual doors. We are free to go through them, explore the ideas we find inside, and convert those notions we judge best into the lifestyles that suit us.
Freedom for citizens of such nations should be limited only at the point where people’s choices clearly impede the rights of others. I’m talking about genuine interference, of course, not the thin-skinned, “I’ve been triggered” movement playing out now.
And yes, Christians should be the strongest supporters of such a system. Many of our democratic notions were born out of the persecution minority Christian groups faced under state-sanctioned religion. Christians in rigid, authoritarian nations still crave the kind of freedom that rapidly evolved in the 18th century.
As followers of Christ, we also keep a bigger picture in mind as we enjoy these freedoms. Something better lies ahead; this truth is at the core of how we live and what we preach and teach to others.
As we freely choose Christ as Savior, we ready ourselves for an eternal, uncorrupted kingdom, a place where God’s light and love illuminate every moment and every relationship. This kingdom is where our most important citizenship resides.
Once there, I have no doubt we will be thankful for the people who made it possible for us to freely choose eternal life. I suspect we also will be astonished at how powerfully God’s grace penetrated even the darkest, most authoritarian regimes, giving people hope.
Lord, thank you for the gift of freedom. May it continue to be guarded and used well in free nations, and extended to those needing relief. Amen.