Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Gordan Runyan
Religion columnist 

Freedom can be irritating


September 27, 2017

So, who knew? It turns out freedom is a messy thing.

There are times when it seems to cause as many problems as it solves. Free people often use their freedom the wrong way. They stand or sit or salute (or refuse to) at the wrong times. It’s aggravating.

This shouldn’t be surprising, as the Scripture has taught this for many centuries. Freedom is always hard-won; routinely abused; shockingly under-appreciated; and, amazingly difficult to maintain. It’s also worth all of that.

In the book of Exodus, for example, we see the (maybe surprising) fact that living in freedom is not for cowards. The people of Israel were slaves in Egypt for a couple of hundred years. Then God showed up and, with an outstretched hand, and mighty signs and wonders, he yanked out a nation for himself from within Pharaoh’s nation. As he led his people through the wilderness, it wasn’t long before this new group of former slaves wanted to go back.

Was slavery really that bad after all? I mean, at least we ate well, right? But now we’re out here, with no grocery stores in sight, and bad people all around us with actual armies.

Freedom is hard. At least, when you’re a slave, the list of things you have to worry about from day to day is a lot smaller. Now you’ve got all these pesky choices and responsibilities. Worse even, the free people next to you are putting up a yard sign for a candidate you hate, or practicing the drums at all hours. Who needs it?

The Bible says you do. Freedom is a prominent theme, especially in the New Testament. Jesus said in John 8:6, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

He’s talking about spiritual freedom there, from bondage to sin, addiction, disease, etc. But it doesn’t stop with merely spiritual freedom. In 1 Corinthians 7:23, those who are spiritually free are given a further command: “You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants (or, “slaves”) of men.” Precisely because you know that Christ has purchased you, paid the price for your freedom, now you are charged with not allowing yourself to be enslaved again, to anyone.

If we miss that concept, or don’t realize how seriously Christians have taken it historically, we won’t understand the first generations of American colonists, or the shining “city on a hill” they dreamed of establishing on these shores. It would’ve maybe been more comfortable to stay in Europe. Go along to get along. Thankfully, they were stouthearted enough in their faith to be undaunted by the frightening demands of freedom.

Then, one of them painted his house a color they all despised and we magically got zoning laws. I’m kidding, of course, but only a little.

The principles of liberty set forth in the Christian Scriptures represent the only sure and solid philosophical foundation for freedom in the larger society. I don’t have time to prove it here, but I have gone into some depth to show that secular humanism can provide no basis for political freedom, in an essay titled, “God — The Only Ground for Freedom,” which you can find online.

Stay free. Be patient with the free numbskulls around you. I know it’s hard, but it’s worth it.

Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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