Grace Emerges

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Theology of Freedom - Repost

This article I wrote a while back goes well with my series on Luke.  So I'm posting it again!

Freedom is essential to the nature of God.  Jesus came to free everyone who suffers (Luke 4:18).

God in his freedom, made and makes choices about how to interact with us, (created us, loves us, relates to us, came to Earth in the flesh as Jesus, involves himself in our lives, answers our requests, shows us his wisdom, connects to us through the Holy Spirit).

God in his freedom, made us in his own image, a picture of Freedom.  We can choose to relate to God, choose to care about others, choose to be unselfish, choose to grow.     In his design, God endowed us with a creative mind that is capable of complex choices involving facts, feelings, and spiritual ideals.

Freedom in the gospel: The gospel message proclaimed by the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, and others, was essentially a proclamation of Liberation, of freeing the captives, of opening the mind to a new truth that frees us, opening the keys to the kingdom of heaven where we are free and privileged as God's children.

Freedom is what we offer to others when we accept them unconditionally, when we care about their point of view, their thoughts, their needs.  Freedom is when we stand up for injustice and free others from oppression, hate, unfair expectations, unethical work practices, exploitation, literal chains.

Freedom is all of those things: the choices we make, the nature we were given, the authority of God to offer salvation, the liberation we receive under God's spirit, the love we show others, our relationship with God, and the kingdom of heaven itself.

Freedom is choices.  God designed us this way, as a path to creating the realities of Love, Freedom, Righteousness, and Relationship, none of which would be possible without freedom of Choice.  If God’s highest calling is intimate relationship, his greatest gift to us is freedom to choose that relationship, and the freedom to make the world a better place by liberating others!

The opposite of Freedom?  Slavery, for one.  But also judgment, control, elitism, hate, prejudice, closed social systems, rejection, bigotry.  Religion itself can be a system of control rather than a liberating force.  But as God-lovers, Christ-believers, Spirit-followers and as the global church of God's children, we can fight injustice, and by doing do, partner with God to bring his kingdom on Earth.  

16Jesus went back to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and as usual he went to the meeting place on the Sabbath. When he stood up to read from the Scriptures, 17he was given the book of Isaiah the prophet. He opened it and read, 
18"The Lord's Spirit
has come to me,
because he has chosen me
to tell the good news
to the poor.
The Lord has sent me
to announce freedom
for prisoners,
to give sight to the blind,
to free everyone
who suffers,
19and to say, `This is the year
the Lord has chosen.' "
20Jesus closed the book, then handed it back to the man in charge and sat down. Everyone in the meeting place looked straight at Jesus.
21Then Jesus said to them, "What you have just heard me read has come true today."

(Luke 4: 16-21), CEV

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