Dr. James Fowler
People in the United States of America pride themselves as being persons who enjoy the freedoms afforded them in the Constitution of the United States. At the same time, many in this country are not experiencing real freedom. In the hustle and bustle of modern life, the performance expectations of “being the best you can be” and maintaining a certain “standard of living” to keep up with one’s peer group keep many people exhausted in never-ending performance. The added religious burdens of do, do, do, and go, go, go to please God only intensify the pressures to perform and diminish the enjoyment of real freedom.
Real freedom is only experienced in the personal knowing of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Grace is the provision and resource for living that God has made available in His Son, Jesus (cf. Jn. 1:17). It is totally antithetical to all mandated expectations of human activity. Grace is the divine dynamic whereby any/all performance expected of us is accomplished through us. This is not a passivism wherein we have no responsibility, but our God-given freedom of human choice is repeatedly given the opportunity to respond in faith to God’s willingness to freely give us all things – to exercise receptivity to Gods activity of Grace.
Jesus told those listening to Him, “You will know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Identifying Himself as the personified Truth (Jn. 14:6), Jesus proceeded to say, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36), i.e, experiencing real freedom. Real freedom – freedom from all performance expectations and freedom to be the completely fulfilled person that God intends you to be by His provision of grace – can only be experienced in union with the divine and living Lord Jesus. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; do not be subjected to the enslaving performance expectations” (Gal. 5:1). There are many pseudo-freedoms, but Christ is the real freedom.