The Liberator: freedom from or in, God?

Perhaps nagged at by the claims of Marxists, ``free-thinkers'' and others, sometimes I see a liberator coming to set us free from the oppressor, and my cultural legacy gives me an authoritarian killjoy view of God, and fear that the liberator is an antitheist devil coming to set me free ``from God'' into a secular paradise of being ``free to do what I like'', free from the ``shoulds'' and ``oughts'' of my schoolchildhood and civilization and Britishness... and so I flinch, fearing for my eternal soul, and turn the liberator aside.

But truly, the liberator I see is Christ, and he is calling me, not (as I so easily see it) tempting me; and he is setting me free from the laws and regulations to which I have been bound by the conditional love I have been taught (that God will love me if and only if I keep the rules). But the freedom He gives me is not the one I have been encouraged (building on natural tendencies from childhood within) to see as appealing to do whatever I feel like -- but something quite different, under a Grace that I cannot understand.

Some time ago I couldn't honestly say I consistently really felt the freedom that some Christians say they have found in Yeshua (and, indeed, was wary of feelings like this, and see that what is believed to be freedom can become contaminated [:]) -- I struggle too much with trying to be good; and, indeed, for those for whom this is a struggle, it is one that must be under-taken; perhaps it is more a matter of letting God do the real work -- bit I do think it's wrong to think there's no effort on our part -- it's just that our effort is not salvific in its effects. And I know that in this struggle I can turn contrary to ``the rules'', a bit like a rebellious teenager, and that I should counter this by letting in more of the Grace behind the Law; and I (*Gethsemane) long for ``full freedom'' at last...

But the real freedom comes in that the righteousness of the saved is a response pulled by love rather than driven by fear -- and for some, fear is a slow thing to lose, deep down.

And so now, what has changed? The freedom I feel seems to be different from the one hearsay led me to expect.

[John's Christianity page]
John C. G. Sturdy

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