When listening to some Anne Murray music several days ago, one of the songs included the expression that “freedom” is when there is nothing we have to do. It very much caught my attention. Ruminating on it as I was jogging, I focused on “nothing we have to do.” True, that can refer to just being idle. But, we also commonly refer to freedom as a state in which we have no obligations to anyone or anything. In other words, freedom has the connotation of being able to do our own thing, to live in a self-centered fashion. We perceive obligations to other people, individually or collectively, as an invasion of our freedom or an enslavement to some degree.
What is lacking in this way of thinking is the concept of freedom being the ability and state of fulfilling our obligations. For example, to be free to love means that we do not have impediments keeping us from loving. We have been “freed up”, using a term a mechanic might use to describe the situation when getting the junk out of the engine that is keeping it from operating up to specs.
Let’s not conceive of freedom as removing us from obligations, but giving us the capacity to fulfill our obligations. When Christ frees us, He does not remove obligations. Neither does he add any obligations to us that don’t already pertain to us as humans. God’s “law”, His will for humanity, is for everyone. Some have become free to live His will (His law of love, His law of grace, His law of hospitality, His law of kindness, etc.) These “freed ones” are the ones who have been regenerated (given new life) in Christ. What a tremendous blessing we have by being free in Christ. What a tragedy that “being bound” to Christ is seen as a denigrating slavery rather than as a liberating love affair with Him, the enablement to do and be what we were created to do and be, but couldn’t until being in Christ.