Today we celebrate its 246th year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That excellent document led to a hard fought struggle to grapple our nation’s freedom from the rule of the King of England. Our forefather’s struggles, which led to their amazing victory, are an accomplishment that created a sense of self-sufficiency that has become a part of our American psyche and character.
As Christians we should ponder the meaning of both freedom and dependence, not independence, through a couple of scriptures.
First consider John 8:31-32.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
If you read further into chapter 8 you will find that the context is about becoming free from being a slave to sin. All have sinned and are deserving of death; that is, separation from God. Jesus changed that, he surrendered himself to reclaim us from eternal separation. We, as eternal living creations, have been rescued, redeemed, through Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus died for me, he died for you, and he died for all who believe in him that we shall enter into God’s eternal kingdom. This is our true freedom; the freedom that will remain with us after we are no longer citizens of this nation and enter into the presence of God.
In John 15:4-5 we learn that we are actually dependent on Christ.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
Just as no tomatoes will develop if you remove all of the blossoms from a tomato plant, Christians will not bear fruit if removed from Christ. In order to produce fruit, to be a living functioning part of the body of Christ, Christians need to remain connected to Christ just as the blossom needs to remain attached to the tomato vine in order to bear a tomato. Christians are dependent upon Christ in order to grow and mature. Far too many Christians have detached themselves from the church or from having any connection with a body of believers in a spiritually meaningful and refreshing way. It is only through union with fellow believers that the Fruit of the Spirit may thrive and be productive.
Christ has indeed blessed us with freedom from being a slave to sin. It is a gift that we can never reimburse Him for and we should thank him daily for this gift. To be worthwhile and beneficial to Christ’s instruction to make disciples we must remain forever dependent upon him. To be in Christ is to be dependent and to be dependent is to be free indeed.