St. Paul Lutheran Church
Tel: 712-364-2918 | Fax: 712-364-3038
100 7th Street
Ida Grove, Iowa 51445
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

Pastor's Desk

 

Freedom!!!  Freedom in Christ, Above All!!!

            On July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson along with several others penned and sent the document that we know as “The Declaration of Independence”.  It declared the start to a new nation.  Its words would be highly influential upon the United States Constitution, in particular the Bill of Rights.

            Those Rights that guarantee many essential freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, free exercise of religion, the right to bear arms, and others. 

            The last 18 months, we haven’t exactly felt free have we?  For a while we were pretty much locked in our homes other than to go to the grocery store in pick up groceries in the parking lot.  Schools were shut down.  Businesses were shut down, or engaging in heavy social distancing.  We had minimal contact with one another.  We were separated from those in nursing homes and assisted living.  Even churches closed.  It was to say the least a very challenging time.

            As I write this letter, the unprecedented times are becoming quite a bit more “precedented” again.  Schools and activities are in full swing.  Social distancing and face masks are decreasing.  We had a wonderful Vacation Bible School, we are seeing people we hadn’t seen much of over this time period.  You can feel that increasing sense of freedom from the effects of this pandemic.

            Freedom is quite the theme for the month of July, but as Christians we have already been given a greater freedom.  This isn’t the kind of freedom that the colonists sought in the Declaration of Independence.  This isn’t even the kind of freedom we longed for this past year.

            It is the freedom that only comes from the God of all things.  It is freedom from the greatest of enemies.  July 4, 1776, was the middle of an American Revolution.  War what great evidence that is of the fallenness of man.  So, also the tyranny of leaders that provoke wars.  This year, as we have been ravaged by a disease, we are reminded of what a sinful world promises.  Even more, we struggle now with droughts.  Our lives are always engaged in battle with the three-headed enemy of “Sin, death, and the devil”.

            It is for this reason that Jesus came.  In the fullness of time, God kept his promise to man.  He sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law.  So, that you who were born enslaved to sin, death, and the devil, may be set free.  For if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.  You are not a slave, but you are a son and heir of the heavenly father.  Your freedom gained not by means of strength or war, not by means of silver and gold, not even by means of the pen, but by holy innocent suffering and death of Jesus.

            You are free in Christ.  But you see, this freedom, is not merely freedom to do whatever you want.  For as long as your sinful nature wars within, this is not freedom but still slavery.  No, you see our God is conforming your will to match his will.  He is conforming you each day to be more and more like Him.  He does this as we remember our baptism.  He does this as we feast upon his holy supper.  He does this as we hear is words of absolution.  He does this as we feast upon the words of his scripture.  For man lives not bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God.

            It by the means of his gifts, through his sacrifice upon the cross, that true freedom is gained.  Freedom in Christ, is that you do indeed do as you wish, and as you desire.  However, what you wish and desire is 100% in line with the will of God.  At times, we taste and get a glimpse of this freedom.  But in this sin fallen world it remains tainted and broken.

            So, we look forward to the day that King of Kings and Lord of Lords, returns to establish his everlasting kingdom, of which we were made citizens in our baptism.  There, we will know real Freedom.  Until then, we take advantage of the freedoms we have in this nation.

            We tell of the Gospel of Jesus to others, for how are they to believe and receive this freedom, unless someone tells them.  We use these dear freedoms as Americans to regularly hear God’s word, and receive his sacrament.  That we may taste eternal freedom, that we may be made more in his image, that we may be strengthened to bring his Gospel of eternal freedom to our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, our family, and to the ends of the Earth.  Until His freedom expands the entire globe, to Him be all glory.  Amen.

~Pastor Neil Wehmas

 

Last Updated: 7/2/2021