This article was originally published in the World Orphans Spring Insight Magazine 2019.
Americans are typically familiar with freedom being built into the fabric of our country. We are free to go where we want, eat what we want, live where we want, say what we want, believe what we want, and worship where and how we want. The concept of freedom is an identifying marker of life in the US.
However, when we look at Scripture, we see that our human condition is that of slaves—slaves to sin, the law, death, and dark, spiritual forces. We sin because we are sinful; however, by the grace of God, there is freedom from sin.
True freedom is found in the death and resurrection of Jesus. By believing in him and walking with the Spirit, we are delivered from sin, delivered from the demands of the law, and delivered from enslavement. We are forgiven. Freedom is not the result of our own merits or efforts because we cannot set ourselves free, but it is Christ who sets us free. Paul tells us of this freedom in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”
We were not created to sin; rather, we were created in the image of God to be perfect and holy. Because of his grace and great love for us, we are set free through his mercy.
This freedom sets us free to love others, as we seek justice and freedom in our world. We love because he first loved us. We pursue justice because we have been justified. We seek freedom for others because we have been set free.
Human slavery still exists. Today, there are more slaves than at any other time in the history of the world. It is both evil and reprehensible—a dehumanizing atrocity worthy of our rage. While World Orphans is not primarily an anti-trafficking organization, those we serve are the easiest targets—the orphan, the widow, the refugee, and the vulnerable. In order to preserve their freedom, these families must be protected, empowered, and loved.
This issue of Insight is dedicated to freedom. Throughout these pages, you will see freedom through family empowerment: widows freed to work, to save, and to care for their own children; vulnerable children and refugees freed—through the gift of education—from the cycle of poverty, abandonment, and abuse; a single mother freed from prison, sin, and guilt in order to be restored to a loving, nurturing relationship with her children.
Paul reminds us that if we live by the Spirit, we should also walk by the Spirit and live in Christ’s freedom. As we focus on freedom, we are reminded that “the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Friends, let us walk in that freedom as we continue to empower the church to care orphans, widows, refugees, and the vulnerable—until they all have homes!