The 21st of March is a joyous day for every Namibian. Whether old or young, we are all proud to be citizens of the Land of the Brave. Beautiful land of Savannahs, desert, and ocean – it is truly one of a kind. Namibia our mother land, we love thee! Our liberty did not come cheap, but by the blood of many wateredfor our freedom. As we celebrate our independence today, I want us to honestly reflect on our freedom. Are we really free? Is there more from which we need to be freed? This article argues that there is more, and that the physical independence we achieve is just a shadow to the real and personal spiritual independence that each and every being must seek.
Justice and Freedom
Justice is a biblical concept. God demands justice from all men (Micah 6:8), and he is the one that sets any man free (Galatians 5:1). All laws are mirrors of the law of God, and all governing law in the world ought to conform to the law of God. God’s law is the boundary and limit that sets our freedom and justice. Assuredly, even God is bound by his own law, and thus He can only be free and just according to His nature (2 Timothy 2:13), for He is not apart from His. Freedom, in essence, is the state of being open and right with God. Freedom is only present when there is truth and when one is living according to that truth. God’s Word is truth, therefore only His Word makes man free (John 8:31-32). Ultimately, freedom and justice are heart issues. When people are oppressing and inflicting pain on others, they are not just being ignorant, but are radically disobeying God, and their hearts are far from the law of God. Hence, injustice is sin, and sin binds and imprisons man making man slaves. “Why are there fights and quarrels among the children of men?” James questions, “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” James 4:1. Therefore all the oppressions in the world, like our liberation struggle, are basically results of the problem of the heart. Thus, we are only truly free when we are justified (declared right by God), and consequently when our hearts are liberated from inward passions.
The Real bondage
Even though many countries celebrate Independence from oppression of the colonizer, we should also acknowledge that there is a real bondage that cannot be freed by firearms or ballot papers. This is a bondage that is oppressing all nations in the whole universe, whether developing or developed.
This bondage is called Sin. What makes sin a deadly oppressor is the fact that it is an issue of the heart. In human history men tried to bring about this independence and freedom, but kept on failing, because man cannot resolve his own heart. John 8:34 reads “Jesus answered them ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.’”. This is true with all of us, we all practice sin hence we are slaves or captive to sin and are in a desperate need of freedom. Therefore, as we celebrate the Namibia Independence we should remember that we are still in spiritual bondage that no political party or political figure can free us from.
The Seriousness of the Bondage
Ephesians 2:1-3 helps us to see the extent and seriousness of our bondage to sin. The scripture reads, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.”
How are we dead in sins and trespasses? We follow the course of this world and want to do the things of this world which are contrary to God’s will. This is the world we are born into, and by nature and default we are imprisoned into its course. There is no escape!We follow the ways of the devil, who is referred to as the prince of the power of air. He is more powerful than us, and in our nature, none can resist his influence. There is no hiding from him!We live according to the desires of our flesh. Because we are sinners at our core our flesh desires that which is sinful and we easily give into it. Our very own passions and desires are our enemies.
All of the above-mentioned show us that we are naturally objects of God’s wrath. God is angry with us because of our sin, and His punishment is eternal death in Hell. This means that if we continue in this state and die in it, we will be in Hell – a place of fire, pain and torment- for eternity. That‘s how serious our bondage is. Ponder on it; it is not to be taken lightly.
Thankfully, there is hope! Since Christ has fully paid the price for His people, if a person repents from sin and believes Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Saviour, that person’s sins shall be forgiven. By forgiving you, Christ saves you from your guilt before God, declares you righteous before God, and reconciles you back to God (Romans 5:1–5). Those who have believed Christ are also adopted by God to be His children, sealed with the Holy Spirit, delivered from the bondage of sin, delivered from the slavery of Satan and transferred into the kingdom of God (John 1:12; Romans 6; Colossians 1:13–14). Saved people are changed from the inside; they are sealed with the indwelling Holy Spirit; they are given a new heart disposition, a new nature that loves God and godliness – this is the nature that enables true Christians to desire and pursue righteousness in all areas of their lives, and enables them to love and submit to the Word of God (Ezekiel 36:25–27; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:13–14). By the help of the Holy Spirit and by the direction of the God-written, inspired Word, true believers are being freed from the corruption of sin by being transformed into Christ-likeness daily (Ephesians 4:17—5:20; 2 Timothy 3:13—4:5). When Christ returns to raise the dead, to judge the living and the dead, and to restore all things to glory, He will also give true believers perfect, sinless bodies and finally deliver them from the presence and consequence of sin (Romans 8:18–25; 1 John 3:1–3). Since Christ is the only one who can free us from sin, we must come to Him in order to be saved, and point others to Christ through the preaching of the gospel, so that they too may repent and believe Jesus Christ for them to be saved (Romans 10:9–17).
Celebrating our true independence
Our independence is freedom from one captivity to another glorious captivity. We have a new Master. We no longer are slaves to sin, but slaves of Christ. We have been transferred from one kingdom to another, but in the new kingdom, we obey and serve because we have been set free from the bondage that leads to decay and into the bondage that leads to eternal life. Our joy is not primarily heaven but worship. Once we were idol worshipers, but now through Christ, we are worshipers of the living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Our joy of the freedom we have in God through Christ should result in an ongoing holy devotion to the God of our salvation (1 Peter 1:16), living at peace with all men (Romans 12:18), perseverance in the midst of suffering (James 1:2) and being witnesses of the gospel of peace to all men (Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 28:18-20). Only when a person is made a slave of God are they free to be who they were created to be (Gal. 5.1).
There is clearly an independence that each of us must seek, which is to be right with God and for God. No other personamong us can rescue us from our bondage, nor can we rescue ourselves. Only Jesus is the right Saviour. O what profit would it be, if we are only content with our physical liberation, and yetbe eternally bound by sin and death? Repent, believe and seektrue independence for the sake of your soul and the glory of God.