Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independence

Every year the US Independence Day seems to me to call for some comment. I'm a bit late this year.

"Independence" deserves some careful thought. In particular, when we consider in Romans 6 two kinds of freedom - from justice or from wrongdoing - it becomes pretty obvious that "freedom," like "love," is applied to all sorts of things that have nothing in common. We want to be clear, just as when we order a warm steak we want to be sure we're not getting a warm stake - to be burnt at!

Abraham Joshua Heschel put it well, explaining how everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin, as Jesus said:

Is liberty alone, regardless of what we do with it, regardless of good and evil, of kindness and cruelty, the highest good? Is liberty an empty concept, the ability to do what we please? Is not the meaning of liberty contingent upon its compatibility with righteousness? There is no freedom except the freedom bestowed upon us by God; there is no freedom without sanctity.

Professing believers in Jesus Christ must clearly understand this teaching we hear that America gives us liberty, through the blood of those who die in its wars. This is simply a demonic religion of human sacrifice, and as Paul wrote, we're not supposed to have communion with demons and their doctrines. It will always be around - just as long as Satan is the god of this world. But it has NO place in the mouth and heart of anyone who professes to believe in Jesus Christ, whose blood alone gives life and liberty through his resurrection so that his blood lives NOW to give us life and liberty - a liberty that owes nothing to any worldly power, and has no use whatever for the sacrificial blood of men (Micah 6:7).

The independence that this world offers is death - separation from God and others in our conceited self-assertion. That much we should suspect just from the failure of independence to actually do much for those African and Asian nations that have gained it in the last 70 years, although it has been good for the empires that ruled them to be forced to stop overseeing the business of others. And we ought to notice that American independence gave Americans nothing which Canadians didn't get without it - except arrogance, a history of wanton aggression, enslavement, and mass murder of others, and the fear of others, together with brazenness and self-righteousness, that our collective guilty conscience has brought forth.

God in fact does give real independence, an independence having nothing in common with the conceited independence that this world celebrates. While we don't get to say to others in our insolence, "I have no need of you," we are in one vital sense made independent of everyone. We don't have to rob them or suck their blood in various ways. We don't have to invade their countries in order to feed our addiction to petroleum - which addiction is certainly no kind of independence. The independence God gives is a gift and not a thing gained by our fighting for it, which excludes boasting. It comes as we humble ourselves to recognize our dependence on God alone. Jesus spoke of it in this way:

Why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin, yet I say to you that Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more you, O men of little faith?

Do not be anxious then, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "With what shall we clothe ourselves?" For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Now the way the Gentiles "eagerly seek these things" is to rob other people, to invade them in order to make their petroleum supplies our own, and to lie about it all because telling the truth makes it less likely that we will succeed in these thefts. "You shall not steal" and every other commandment of God yield to the imperative to "eagerly seek these things," along with all genuine faith in Christ who taught us these things, and whose words we are flagrantly blowing off in our manifest contempt for his counsel - even as we may in vain call him "Lord, Lord."

If we are in this way totally enslaved to iniquity and the mind of this world, altogether dependent on its devices, what real independence do we have? What kind of freedom has the blood of American soldiers bought us, except the freedom to rob and murder others - what Paul called being "free from righteousness."

If we are not free from sin, from doing wrong to others and having to lie to ourselves and others about it, what kind of "independence" do we have?

1 Comments:

Blogger Marty said...

"This is simply a demonic religion of human sacrifice, and as Paul wrote, we're not supposed to have communion with demons and their doctrines."

Wow! Powerful. Very well said. I'm putting up a link to this.

7/09/2007 9:38 AM  

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